Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1st, 2013. Last one!!!!

Family, This is the last letter of i dont even know how many. I actually tried what destin said, about how he thought about it like it was a another transfer, but your brain knows better. Mom and Dad, thank you for sacrificing so much to send Destin and <i on missions at the same time. And also to everyone else, i know other people helped out, i am so grateful to them. Its strange to think its all coming to an end, well, actually i thought that back in may too, but this time its real hahaha. I just wanted to say thanks and dont worry, i have too much to do to waste a minute of the time i have been given. I havent even thought about packing haha. 

Our new mission president got here, and its been awesome to be able to get to know him. His wife wants mom to know that she loves me and all the missionaries and says thanks to you guys for supporting me. <president said something today in the councel that i liked. Life with out this year and a half or 2 years, would be missing out on half of your life. i really liked that. I feel like i will be able to be a much better member, and person all around from all the things i have learned. They say a missionary learns in 2 years what a member learns in 20, and i really think thats true. 

I love you all so much, thank you for everything, i plan on using all the time i have left to share the gospel and change people lives. i know that after they take off the badge, you still share the gospel, but its different. Anyway, i love you all tons. I love peru so much, and i want you all to know that this has been the best year and a half of my life. not for the cool places, not for the language, but for the friendships i will take with me, the memories i will never forget, and the relationship i have developed with Christ and my Heavenly Father. 

Gracias por ustedes que están aquí en peru, sepan que les quiero mucho, y les llevo en mi corazón. Gracias por su amor y sus enseñanzas. 

Hermana Swartz

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 23, 2013

Hey family!  Man, the gospel is the beeesssstttt!!!! its hard, for sure. but holy cow life is so much better with the gospel!!!! i didnt really get the gospel before the mission i dont think. They should put missionaries in our ward. Did you guys hear about the awesome training meeting from president monson yesterday!!!!??? so awesome. man it rocked. 
Daddy , thanks for your letters, they always help me put stuff in perspective. i love you super a lot. Momma, i love you tooo! thanks for looking into stuff for school for lme, i am really excited to get back to that.  i love you both a lot.
This week, we went to quillabamba and also los alamos, and it was awesome. i loved being in quillabamba and got to see a lot of people i love, and got to talk to people that should be going to church that arent. in our sector in san jeronimo... there isnt a lot going on, we really havent been here to work, but the sisters and elders that we share the sector are doing great! so that makes me feel better. However, sonia, a lady less active who is a returned missionary, her husband left her 3 months ago and she has a 3 month old baby and a 3 year old baby boy and her husband went to lima, also rm, she came to church yesterday! the ward has been trying to activate her, and she wouldnt talk to anyone, but i got here with my comp and we knocked the door, and told her we would like to come in, with huge smiles on our faces... she actually tried to shut the door, but my comp put her foot in the door hahahaha!!! yes. so we just went in, and she is so incredible. i am positive she is one of the reasons why i am still on the mission. 

Basically life is great, i have had a really awesome experience with fasting, i wont go into details, but i will say my testimony has increased, it really does make the difference, not just on a mission, but for life in general. The gospel is the best. I love the mission, but i am stoked to see you all again! i love my family and i am soooo blessed to have you guys with me forever. i dont have uncle wilbers email, but please forward him my email... he writes me every week!!! he wants to know how i am but i dont have much time to write. tell him i love him!

i gotta get going, we are going to the inti-raimy festival today!!!! its supposed to awesome, ill let you know next week  how it went, thats if we have time to write next week... next week we have the leaders counsel on monday because the new mission president comes in! how awesome. i am sure theyll give us time.... just not sure when. 

Mom... last thing. the toilets swirl clockwise!!! hahaha. we are going to have to come to peru together. its awesome. 

love you all! gotta run! talk to you soon!
Hermana Swartz

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 17th, 2013

Dear Daddy, HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!!!! i love you so much dad. you have been a wonderful dad, and always taught us with so much patience and love, but never afraid to tell us when we need to improve. thank you for your letter, i am so grateful for you dad. you are one of my best friends, in a lot of ways i am like mom, which rocks, but in a lot of ways, my personality has reflected you. Thank you for your love and support, and example. you and mom are the best parents in the world for me. Heavenly father couldnt have done a better job in picking parents for me.
Rach, love the pics! They are so cute. maddie reminds me of me when i was little. 
Destin, you saw Kevin!!!!??? yay, i love him! I dont know him, but it doesnt matter, i have prayed for him so much, i feel like i know him. Please tell him i wish him well and will be writing him another letter soon. 
Mark is married! tell him congrats. kid is like a brother to me. cant wait to meet his wife! 

This week has been good, but really exhausting. we visited the sisters in ttio, cusco on wednesday, actaully i went to ttio with caicedo and her comp came to our sector to work. It was soooo cool to be where i started and work, and be able to show caicedo who is opening the sector, who i trained a year ago in puerto, around and introduce her to members. i learned a lot.
Then friday night i got food poisoning and was throwing up in the morning on saturday, but we had our flights booked for puerto maldonado to do a surprise visist saturday at noon. so, we went. i was sick and exhausted, but there was too much to do, and it wasnt like i could miss the flight! it was awesome, you always learn so much with different people. and in the morning before our flight back to cusco, we went to church in puerto and keila and julio were there, and raquel and members that i love. I was the witness for their weddings and so that makes me their madrina is what they told me yesterday!!! they all came to the airport to see us off, it was a great experience. Its hard to keep seeing these people and having to say goodbye over and over again, its equally as hard everytime.
Well, thats it for now. Life is good. Something i was thinking about, we need to BE where we are, be happy where we are and be grateful where we are, but always work to be in a better place spiritually, physically, and emotionally, ect. o sea, live with the decisions we make and not regret, but learn from them. thats my thought for this week.
Love you tons family, i hope you are all doing well, see you soon!!!
Hermana Swartz

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 10th, 2013

Hey family! Destin, satan is definitly a jerk. i know what you mean. Mom and dad, not sure when my flight is.. but if i am not mistaken,  i leavefriday the 5th from peru and will get there saturday in the afternoon on the 6th. they havent bought my flight tickets yet so i dont actually know the details. Dad, super happy with you for following my wise advice. good. i looooove the pics. a little jealous actually, its freezing where i am at. i am cold. Rach, i cant wait to hang out with your kids!!!! 
Here is what is happening, my comp and i are in san jeronimo, cusco, in president calderons ward. we live with hna martinez, my bff here on the mish, and hna black, a new sister from provo who got here this week. We had the change meeting on tuesday, everyone was surprised i wasnt going home haha. then, wednesday, we had a reunion with all the sisters in the mission and talked about dress code and hair and make up, it rocked! there are about 40 sisters on the mission at this point. Then thursday we had the reunion of leaders of the mission, its no longer just for the zone leaders, but them and the 4 sister missionary leaders. so then friday, we got to start working. my comp and i have half the mission, and the other companionship has the other half. we have to visit every companionship this month, we made our own travel plans and have to talk to President today or tomorrow to get it all approved. We will be traveling just the two of us, and possibly sometimes with president. But, we still have our sector and have to have good numbers and have a goal of two baptisms this month. 
umm, what else, my pensionista is awesome. she is really.... strict, but cool. she is teaching me how to eat correctly hahha, i might come home with ulcers, but with better manners. so thats the good part hahaha.
carmen our convert from puno was in the sacrament meeting yesterday and brought her boyfriend who lives in our new sector who is  not a member!!! we were soooo excited to see her here in cusco! my companion and i gave talks yesterday, in front of President and Elder Hooker, who is a 70 of area, so a little nerve wracking, but i really enjoy giving talks so it was good. 
You know, I am really happy where i am at. i keep thinking because i extended i have a lot of time left, but then my companion reminds me i only have about three and a half weeks left. I forget i dont have much time, there is so much to do now! I feel like i have a long time left. I am excited to see how this last month plays out.
I love you all soooo much, thanks for your letters and love, ill see you sooon.
ps do grandma and grandpa know a jan and lee lyon? Elder lyon is my Zone Leader and told me that his grandparents know grandpa and grandma Rowe, which, wouldnt surprise me at all considering they have connections everywhere.
 Mission Home

 Leaders conference


 Terminal at transfers

 Mary and her comp

 Some of the hermanas

 A family they are teaching( ?)

 All the sisters in the mission

At transfers

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 2nd, 2013

TIFFANY IS ENGAGED!!!!?????What!!!!! Noooooo!!!!!! but really, i am excited for her, just sad to see all my best friends getting married and moving to the next stage, marriage, kids.... so crazy. Am i really old enough that the majority of my best friends are married with children? so crazy.

Daddy, what are you doing at home!? Get in your car and drive to where mom is and take a few days off!!!! this vacation was planned over a year ago!!!  If i were home i would force you to relax and go on vacation. Those are memories you cant get back. money is over rated. I will be super upset with you if you dont go. Apart from peru, there is nowhere i would rather be than with on the beach with the family!!!! You have to live the experience FOR me!!!!!! once again. Get in your car, TODAY, and make it happen. I love you lots. you wont regret it. 

Momma, how awesome! the pictures actually did come through! Daddy is going to head up later today i am sure. <i love washington and oregon, i am a big fan. I hope you enjoy every minute!!!! and i will definitely pray for Jaden. poor thing. Life is just sad sometimes. But, thats why we have the atonement. 

Destin, I hope youre doing well in russia still. My mission president gave his last words here in puno too, and its obvious why they are mission presidents. lots of wisdom. one thing my mission president said was that preach my gospel is the key to success in life in general. how to make and reach goals, how to plan, how to extend compromisos eficaz? how do you say that in english again.. efficient invitations i think? also christ like attributes... very awesome. its true. everyone should read preach my gospel hahaha. 

Milagros, Muchisimas gracias por escribirme por mis cumpleaños! no puedo creer que tanto tiempo ha pasado tampoco! asi que mi hermana le dijo de que me quedo! Bacan jaja. que chevere que ustedes hablan! Deben ser amigas. De hecho, se acuerda, le dije una vez que usted me hace recordar bastante de mi hermana mayor. ya pues, le quiero mucho, y espero que ustedes esten super bien. esta haciendo un friaso aca en puno, pero ya voy a tener mi cambio, me voy hoy en la noche! Cuidese mucho, saludos a su esposo, todavia cuento a los demas los chistes que siempre nos contaba jajaja. hasta luego amiga, le quiero mucho!!!!

Welp, thats all for today, i have to go pack my bags because i am headed to cusco tonight with my companion, we both have a change!!!! This has been one of the best places i have been, actually they are all special, but i have really come to love puno. i hope one day i can come back with family and visit these amazing people. 

Love, hna Swartz

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 27th, 2013

Hey family!!!! 
Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I had a great birthday, i am now 23!! holy lanta. we had an awesome week too, wednesday we had interviews with president, then thursday the zone conference, friday the wedding, saturday the baptisms and yesterday my birthday. full total.... saturday, only norma was going to get baptized.... she is sooo incredible. Her husband too, miguel, but didnt want to be baptized yet. while we were there, and norma was all changed for the ordinance, my comp said to the elders "go give him the baptismal clothes and tell him to get changed to be baptized and lets see what he does!!!!" so the elders cornered miguel with the bishop, and gave him the clothes and talked to him... i dont know what they said, but he went and changed for his baptism!! then he had his interview, and got baptized with his wife! norma ran to him and threw her arms around him and kissed him and was jumping up and down like a little girl, it was a miracle. really a beautiful experience. I love seeing families change together, it makes everything better. 
Yesterday my pensionista made pancakes for breakfast!!!  so that rocked. we worked super hard all day in lessons and looking for new investigators because during the week we really didnt have any time, and we had some good lessons. Then in the night, some of the members and our converts threw me a surprise birthday party, it was awesome. I LOVE puno. i love it. I will be really sad to leave, these members are so special. well, actually everywhere i have been has been so special. Norma told us last night she feels like she knew us before this life and thats why she accepted the message so easily. she told us she was waiting for us to find her. I love being a missionary after weeks like this!!!! It was a great birthday. 

Very cool clay is home, man has it really been two years? weird. Tell him hi. and Raquel when you see her! 

Also, i am now allowed to write people back individually via email! so someone needs an answer, i can. the only thing is that there still isnt much time to respond. i still love letters and dear elder, para que sepan (Just so you know). :D

Welp. i love you all very very much! 

here are some pictures of the wedding and my birthday... for the food after the wedding ceremony, the family spread a blanket on the ground and put a bunch of potatoes and chuño and fish.... so that was interesting. you can also see how people dress, the traditional peruvian women. aka panai. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 19th, 2013

Hey family! Welp, this week we have interviews with president Calderon, and our investigators are getting married friday, and baptized saturday! very cool. i am tired. Weddings are no small event. 
 Destin, very cool to hear about what happened last week with your investigator!!!! I felt like i was reading a book with a twist at the end!!! looks like we are going to be getting home with in a week of eachother! cant wait to be wierd rms together. Definitely on board for the homecomings to be on the same day, that would be sick. i would LOVE THAT. wooot!!!!
Welp, it was definitely not part of my plans to stay any longer than what i had set for my date. a few months i had the option to pick my date to return. i prayed and said "lord, if you want me to stay, i will, but let me know. If president himself calls me, i will stay, but if not, i would like to go home to be with my family."
and a week and a half before my departure date, president called me haha. Sometimes i feel like there are several doors to choose from, which one i should enter. When i ask the Lord what i should do, he tells me i can pick, so i do. and then the door shuts in my face, and he says, "ooh, not that door... its okay, try again. you can do it!" so i do... and then its shuts again, in my face... and then the lord says "welp, let me just help you. you clearly need my help." and thats how i often recieve guidence from the Lord. hahaha. I guess the important part is that he wants me to learn to make decisions, but i know that if i choose the wrong one, he will always close the door before i can start down that path hahahah. 

Welp i have news youre all going to love, the system only lets me stay until the 5th of July, so now i will be home the 6th? i think? somthing like that. That just happened 30 seconds ago. Man i hope thats the last time my departure date changes. my emotions are so confused with how to feel with it changing every... i dont know, a lot. But i am excited to be able to do everything possible before i come home to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do. Love you all tons and tons!

MILAGROS!!!! como se intero que me quedo mas tiempo!!? Bueno la verdad, nadie sabe aun, todos piensan que me voy al final de este cambio, entonces todavia no diga a nadie! jaja. pero tengo algo para usted, pero estoy esperando para darle en persona si es que puedo. Sepa que le quiero mucho mucho mucho, y le extraño bastante. Porfavor , no diga a nadie aun que me quedo un rato mas aqui, es un secreto todavia, se van a interar en la reunion de cambios ;D Les quiero mucho!!!! 

Besos, Hna Swartz

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13th, 2013

Hey family! Wow it was actually way better than i thought to talk over skype to you all! Dad, you broke the glass in the table? hahaha. awesome. the good news is i dont think it'll be that hard to replace. So cute the pictures of Boston and Maddie, and the new baby!!!! and David and Amber, your son is soooo cute! It was good to see Brent and Josh, and linda and John, and Mariela, and everyone!!! its crazy to see how much has changed, but yet the house looks exactly the same. but with bushes in front jjaja. mom, you are soo cool. i didnt know you could play destin's bass! thats sick.
Funny story time. So i was pretty stressed out and had a head ache for like, two days straight. and my pensionista did something i have never heard of, so she was rubbing my head, and i was loving it, but then, out of nowhere, she grabs my hair, and pulls it so hard, it makes a suction sound as the scalp separates from the bone... apparently its supposed to help with stress... i started crying because i was so surprised, have you guys heard of that before?.. they have some interesting remedies, they arent too big on medicine here lol. My pensionista is so cool. she is one of the pensionistas in the mission... actually, all my pensionistas have been awesome. 

Welp... still working hard. I was talking to a returned missionary not long ago and mentioned i had a few weeks left, and she said, "ah entonces le falta mucho." o sea, she said ah you still have a lot left. I thought about that. Really i think there is not much time, but there is a LOT to do. activities to plan, people to activate, and investigators to baptize. Basically invite people to christ. haha, two days ago we knocked a door and a lady came out, said she was catholic, and if we came back she would "punish" us. what? really? that was a first, we just laughed about it because she was clearly elderly. i have learned to laugh at things i probably wouldnt have laughed at a year and a half ago. All we can do is invite, and do our best to represent Christ so people can feel his love through us, but at the end of the day, they have to take the decision and act on that. no one can live the gospel for you.

ps. Here are my flight plans.
love you all tons. 
Hermana Swartz

***Basically, so you all know, her flight plans show that she leaves Peru May 28th in the evening, flies to Atlanta, and then arrives in Salt Lake August 29th around lunch time. :) SO EXCITED!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 6th, 2013

Daddy, I am in puno with lake titikaka, there really isnt fall here, its just cold all year. but we are going into the dry, cold season. its nothing compared to russia i am sure, but man its still cold here! especially because there is no hot water and no indoor heating. youre just cold all the time. During the day, it still gets hot because we are at such a high altitude, the sun just burns you, but at night, holy lanta. its cold. and all the buildings are of cement, so its like sleeping in a giant refrigerator haha. 

Momma, i did get your package, thank you! also, there is a western union in my sector, thank you!!! I am soooo excited!!! right now there is a sick ferria and they are selling everything super cheap!!!! Holla. oh and mom and dad, ANNIVERSARY!!!! i dont know how many years you have together, but its a lot. i love you both, and i am grateful to have you for parents. 

Destin i love your pictures!!! its so cool to see you are still alive. i know you are, but after such a long time, it helps to see pictures to remind me. i cant wait to see all your pictures of your  mission, that will be awesome.  

Rachel, how cute are your kids? so adorable! man boston is huge! and maddie too, they look 100 percent like the adams family haha. David, your kid is cute too, just you never send me pictures!!!! 

Welp we have another baptism scheduled for this week, Miguel. He is sooooo awesome! he is 12, and he is Yennys little brother, yenny who got baptized last week. WE had a lesson with him last week, and he told us he had a dream jesus told him to be baptized on his birthday next year in march..... hmmm. that was hard to know how to react to that. so we prayed all week, and we had a lesson with him yesterday after church, and we were all prepared to teach him why he shouldnt wait, and when we started, i asked when he felt god wanted him to be baptized, and he responded "saturday." we sat for a sec in silence, and i said "...which saturday...?" and miguel responded "this saturday. i want to be baptized this saturday, and then recieve the preisthood." We sat in shock, and just sat in silence looking at this kid, thinking... "wait....what?" hahah he was soooooo set on getting baptized in a year!!! so we are getting everything ready for this saturday. Very cool. Things are going well in this sector, i really love puno! the people here rock. very set in their ways, but when they change, they change forever. 

Welp i love you guys tons and tons. hope everything is going well for you all, and that you all have a good week. Ill talk to you soon for mothers day!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY AGAIN!!!  LOVE.

LOVE, Hermana Swartz.

April 29th, 2013

Hey familly!!!!

WE had 3 baptisms on saturday!!! so awesome. Carmen, her son rodrigo, and Yenny!!! all three were miracle baptisms. Man, it is such a good feeling watching the people you love be baptized, and see the difference in their lives. And today is my comps birthday, she is 20 years old today! there is a tradition to break eggs on their head, and shove their face in the cake... but my comp is a fire cracker, so she sought revenge on us all, the whole zone, and we all have cake in our ears and hair now. hahaha. 

If i am not mistaken, today is tiffs birthday, tell her happy birthday! 

Rach, I think maddie and i are going to be bffs. straight up. 

Momma, the money... uh, banco continental esta bien pues. maybe if you could send me in half dollars and half soles? or in dollars and i can change it here. Whatever works.  and bushes!!! wow how awesome!

Daddy, thanks for the letter. it sounds like you have a ton of work to do with cars, the good part is that i know you are able to fix them. 

Welp, i am sure we will make something work with the rooms. I am not too worried about it. 

My papers just got here, i should have my flight information soon, but i dont know when. 

Welp,  i think thats all for today. We had a super awesome week, i love this sector! Puno is awesome. kind of cold, but hey. what can you do.  I love you all tons, hope you guys have an awesome week1

Hna luz! Quiero decirle que le extaño mucho, gracias por siempre ser mi amiga! oro por usted y por freddi y orianna.
presidente Chiang!!! Wow no puedo creer que tanto tiempo ha pasado! Katia se va a Ecuador!!!! wow que BACAN!!!! porfi, digale que le quiero mucho, y mando felicitaciones!!!! Saludos a su hermosa esposa e hija alexita. les quiero muchooooo!

Romi!!! Queiro decirte gracias por todo lo que me enseñaste. realmente, me diste lo que necesitaba para tener una mision exitosa. Te quiero mucho mucho, te voy a encontrar en face en algunas semanas!!!!!!