Monday, May 27, 2013

S2:E01 "Ganja... Ganja everywhere"

Hey everybody! I made it to Oregon safe and sound, don't worry. Everything is going well with me, in my life, personally. So nothing really happened in the MTC since I wrote you, I just packed that day then left the next morning.
When I got to Oregon it was quite boring. We just had this orientation meeting, which involved sitting, and them saying that almost everything they were teaching us didn't apply to "visa waiters". Then we drove to my area, which is Cave Junction, got back at like 11:30 and went to bed because I was dead tired. (But on the way we got taco bell, which is AMAZING!) 

The next day the mission life began, woke up at 6:20, and went for a run on this awesome track that is surrounded by trees. It would be perfect for playing ultimate. Got back from that whole experience and showered and began studying/planning. We planned, and studied, and planned some more. Then we went out. The first thing we did was go to a place called Taylor's Sausage. They have amazing fries, and now I have a huge love for beer battered fries. We went finding for a bit. Did my first door approach, and boy was it exciting. I got to introduce myself, then he shut the door after saying "nope, nope". There is the tale of my first door approach. 

So I got put into an area where there is going to be a baptism  His name is Paul, and he is the coolest person ever. He is getting baptized this weekend which is cool, although I had nothing to do with it. :P

But continuing on, the mission field is cool. We are spoiled here, because the ward is feeding us every single night... it's gonna be a slap to the face in Europe, when I actually get skinny because they aren't cramming food in my face. But I am super appreciative of the ward members, they are amazing people. I will now tell you some random contacting stories that have happened to us this week.

So, this story began before I was even in the field. They had contacted this girl, who was very interested and they set up an appointment to meet with her. When they went to meet with her, they found her husband, who didn't want them to come in and teach his wife something that he didn't know. (trying to protect his family) So this guy ended up going to the church (that was across the street) and telling the bishop to not have missionaries knock his door anymore. So later on, I come along, and we met this lady on the street who wanted us to pray for her. So we prayed with her, and taught her about the Book of Mormon and gave her one. We planned on meeting with her at the park by our house the following day. So the following day comes up, and we are chilling at the park, and she doesn't show up. So we start playing hacky sack while we wait. Then, to our dismay, the guy that told the bishop to not have missionaries knock his door anymore comes over and starts playing with us. We talked and played for a bit, then we got talking about religion, and we contacted him and he was open with it. His name is Don, and he is a great man. I believe that when his life settles down he will be a strong investigator.This was a miracle, pretty much. :P

Onto the next one. This happened last night. We were walking home from our meeting with a less active, and we we walking through the park that the first story talked about. We saw this kid playing basketball and we asked if we could shoot with him. So we were shooting around for a bit, talking, and once again we talked about some religion and he was interested. So we have an appointment with him this week, which is awesome. 

So I'm pretty sure that park, that is filled with hobos and drugs, is a place of miracles.

But as the title says, i'm pretty sure I am in the zone with the most use of marijuana. (That stuff is everywhere) Random fact of the day for you all. 

Oh yeah, so we were meeting with this less active who was drinking some beer... a little buzzed. But then her brother comes along who was completely hammered. He mainly just tried to argue with us, and whenever he would talk he would start off by saying "You know that I'm a Christian, right?" But it's like all of his points didn't really make sense. His main thing was that the bible was enough scripture and that the Book of Mormon wasn't from God because of that. Then my companion pulled out his scriptures and started flipping through them. The drunk guy just started telling him to read marked scriptures. So he read one in Corinthians, I can't remember what it was. Then he read one in Moroni... after he read that scripture in Moroni, the drunk guy said... "That was one kick #$% scripture." Then he said that it was definetly from Jesus. We both were just like... You're right, it is from Jesus. It's also from the Book of Mormon. He was shocked, and it was cool. I know he won't remember it at all. But it might have helped his sister build her testimony. (oh drunk people -.-)

But anyways, the church is true, stay awesome in everything that you do.

I love you <3

Elder Swan

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

S1:E06 "A mouth full of razer blades"

Hey everybody,
    So, I didn't get my visa ;_; but that's okay, in the mean time I will be serving in the Eugene, Oregon mission. I'm hoping it won't be for very long at all, because right now I am quite worried about forgetting the language, because that would not be very good for when I actually get my visa. I'm really excited to go to Denmark, the past couple of days our teachers just went through their missions in Denmark, and showed us pictures and all the works. It is going to be an awesome mission when I get out there. But at the same time I am thankful that I can serve in Oregon as well, because I know that there is work to be done there, and I hope I can contact and teach in English seeing how I've only done those in Danish so far.
    Elder Nielsen was here for the Tuesday devotional.  It was honestly an awesome talk. He talked about how we should work in the field, and what are purpose is. The main thing that stood out to me in his talk is when he said that we have the answer to ALL questions through Christ. Because, in essence, that is what the missionaries are meant to do. Answer peoples questions about this life, and God's plan for them. He talked about how we receive help from ancestors. They they are praying for us. The ancestors of the potential investigators are praying for them, so that there ordinance work can be done. He also said at the same time, we should be praying for the help of the ancestors on the other side of the veil, to help us find and teach everyone that is willing and prepared to receive the message that we have.
    I don't remember if I have brought this up yet, but for most of my additional study time I have been studying this ensign article on It's a comparison of the book of Enoch that was found a while back, to Joseph Smith's book of Moses. It's crazy the things that are alike in the two different writings. I would recommend checking it out, just go to and search "Enoch part 1" and I think it's called something like... "something strange in the land, the book of Enoch part 1"...
    On Wednesday we got to host the new kids at the MTC. All that means is that we see them cry and cry and cry when they get out of the car, then we pull them away from their family for 2 years! It's pretty great. But it was nice to get to know new people when you are with your district for the past 6 weeks.
    Thursday we had "in field training" I don't know if Phill had to do this, but it wasn't that fun. It was a ton of sitting and be lectured about things that we already knew for the most part. (At least the 6 weekers) But in the middle of our 9 hour training we checked the mail and got our reassignments. Which was exciting, but the worst part about it, was that most people in our district lost their will to learn Danish because of the reassignment. We were told over and over again that we are still going to Denmark, and that is our mission, where we were called to serve.
So last Saturday, my teacher ate a piece of hard candy, and inhaled it and got it stuck in his throat. Because it was our super funny teacher, and we knew that he was okay, it was super funny when he started dry heaving to get it out in front of the class. (Sounds awful right?) But because of who he is, it is one of the funniest things that has happened in the MTC. He got it out and he is okay now. But Saturday night, me and someone else wanted to see how much cereal we could eat in one meal. So we sat down, and I had the terrible idea of trying captain crunch. After 10 bowls of captain crunch, my mouth was torn to shreds... I think it would have been better to have 17 razor blades in my mouth than to eat that many bowls of captain crunch. Not only was my mouth killing me, but I also felt ridiculously sick from it.
    Sunday was our testimony meeting with the two district of the Danes... it was such a spiritually uplifting meeting. Each and every one of the people I have met in the past 6 weeks are awesome and have the greatest testimonies that I know. They all have such inspiring stories about how they ended up on their missions. (especially the sisters) It was such an inspiring meeting, it made me realize more of why I am here now, I also learned more about who I am. Something that really stuck out to me is when one of the Elders, during his testimony said that "This gospel is for YOU" implying that it is a personal thing. I realized how true that statement is, that it is for us, that's why we wanted this gospel in the pre-earth life, it's for us, so we can develop and learn more during this time on the earth.
    Monday was our last day with our teachers... which was sad. Brother Pullan pulled all of us aside and talked to us. He told us to set goals about our missions and write a letter for ourselves after our mission. He has such a strong testimony and spirit, when he prayed at the end of our meeting, the spirit was there so strongly. In my journal I related it to a blessing. I honestly couldn't ask for better teachers, they were the two greatest teachers I have ever known.
I wish you all the best of luck! I love you all!
Elder Swan
I know I'm covered up in the top picture, but it's with my teacher.
Then the bottom one is my funny teacher, this is one of the strange photos where he isn't making a face... but ya

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

S1:E05 "The end of what could've been endless"

Another week has come and gone. It was a good week, we got our travel plans. I will be leaving the MTC on the 20th (Tentative), but more likely the 21st which is what we heard from a source which cannot be named.
This week we had an incidence in our zone of some missionaries being dumb -.- so we got lessons on obedience a lot. But Brother Pullan, one of my teachers told us a really powerful testimony about his mission and missions in general. He told us not to waste any time, that you don't won't a single regret on your mission, and that it is the most important thing you can do. He just told us so strongly how important it is to do everything you can while you are on your mission, and not to hold back anything. On Sunday we got to watch a talk by Elder Holland that talked about this. I believe it's called... "Mission are forever" or something to that extent.  He told us that this will mostly likely be the only 2 years that we apostolic, and that we need to treat it that way. He also said that this is the closest to the 12 we will probably ever get in our life. He also talked about how missions are real life. That your aren't leaving "real life" for two years, but your mission is the most real it will ever get. Another thing that stood out to me is that we have more power than the president, prime minister, etc. because of our calling/priesthood, and that we need to "act like it". But the main thing I got out of it, was when he talked about the atonement and conversion. He told us he has wondered many times why missionary work is so hard, why people don't just automatically believe in Christ. He said "Why is this so hard" (talking about conversion) then he followed it up by saying "Why should it be easy for us, if it wasn't easy for Him?", it made me realize just how strong the power of the atonement is, we need to take how we act, and what we do, every day, and realize that we are following Christ and that he is with us.
So Joseph Nemelka is in the floor above me in the residence halls. Which is cool because I can talk to him, and show him the ropes of the MTC. But Nick is in the other building, so he is on his own. Being in the MTC I realized just how great volleyball is. It is so much fun to play. Also, thanks for the cookies Lauren, they were good and my zone liked them. (Nick says thanks too.)
So on Saturday for lunch they had burgers, so I decided to be a man. I ate a 4 patty burger, which was amazing by the way. I'm honestly suprised I haven't had a heart attack yet considering how much food I have eaten.
The title of this email comes from something Brother Williamson (Teacher) did on his mission. After getting dear johned, he had a photo album of there relationship, and had to do something epic with it to get rid of it forever. So he tied a rock to it, went to the very top of U-land, (The part of Denmark connected to Germany, google map it). At the point of it he wrote on the book "The end of what could've been endless", and threw it into the ocean. (I though of Gob) I thought it was a fitting title because this will most likely be my last email to you from the MTC.
Yesterday for TRC we got to skype with someone from Denmark. It was really cool, i'm so excited to get out there. We just talked about what to expect and what to look for. Although I forgot to ask him what food I should eat when I get over there. He did teach me a tongue twister though:
Stativ Stakit Kasket
Kom nu sig det det da let
Which is pretty cool, I know that means nothing to you guys, but I may as well tell you.
I just want you to know that the church is true, we can feel Christ's love in everything that we do and that we should show love to everyone that we talk to or interact with.
I love you all, you are all the best <3
Elder Swan

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

S1:E04 "Elder Swan eats the chicken"

I hope everything is going well in all y'alls lives. I'm still alive and well, even in the MTC. The language is still coming along, still teaching like 3 times a week, and TRC (teaching members in Danish) is awesome, although I feel dumb most of the time when giving a lesson to them.
So on last wednesday, my teacher looked up what was for dinner. Lo and behold, it read chicken cordon on bleu. Then he told us an interesting fact about what he had done while he was in the MTC. He told us his record, of eating chicken cordon bleu, was 5. I instantly knew what I had to do, and said "Challenge accepted." Dinner rolls around, and it began, 2 at a time I would get my chicken. I ate, and ate, and ate, until the sixth one came about. I felt like I was going to explode, but I can never give up, and never surrender. I continued to eat, until I got half way through my sixth one. That was my stopping point sadly... but 5 and a half chicken cordon bleus, I broke my teachers record, and earned respect throughout the zone. Because of this great task I had accomplished, my branch president thought it was fitting for me to be zone leader, and so it came to pass, I am zone leader.
Friday was an awesome day in class, Brother Stacy taught us about how when he was in Denmark, this retired lady would always invite them over for a HUGE dinner every week. They knew that she was spending most of her weekly income on them, and they were very appreciative. But when christmas rolled around she invited them over for dinner. Brother Stacy asked her why she keeps doing this, and that they can go eat with a different family. But she wouldn't accept. Brother Stacy felt so bad about her spending her money on them that he called his mission president, and his mission president told him that he needs to visit with her, eat her food, and be grateful. So that's what he did. But after they were done eating dinner, brother Stacy asked the sister why she would spend her money on them for Christmas and buy them gifts, feed them, etc. She told them that all the money she has spent on them is nothing, because she spent her Christmas with Christ. It made me realize what being a missionary really means. We are representatives of Christ, and need to act in accordance to that calling in everything that we do. It was a very touching and uplifting moment. It made me realize how good I should be for this calling.
On Friday as well, we taught a non-member foreign exchange student for TRC. It was crazy how strong the spirit was, I realized that even in super broken Danish, you can feel the spirit strong, and the spirit is a much better teacher than I will ever be. Our lesson was on the book of mormon and prayer, she said that she already had a testimony of prayer which is awesome. I'm so excited to get out in the field and begin working and contacting. (Although I'm not quite there with the language... -.-)
Saturday nothing really special happened. I almost broke my skull catching a ball that was thrown to me. The wall was much closer than I expected it to be. It was also a day we said to speak Danish only all day. It went fairly well even though everyone stopped this commitment around dinner time. We heard some of the funniest stories from Brother Williamson though. He talked about his worst companion, who got a 7 on the ACT. He said that he felt kind of bad because he knew he wasn't all there. But his companion wouldn't shower, or brush his teeth, and didn't know Danish at all. Brother Williamson told us about how he got his companion to brush his teeth. He would say "Let's have a contest to see who can brush their teeth the longest." But he had one of the 2 minute electric tooth brushes. So as soon as it would stop, his companion would yell "I won!!!!" But the way he told it is super funny... and super terrible. (Once again... a 7 on the ACT)
Fast Sunday was good, it wasn't nearly as bad as Phill said he was, he is just a whiner. Most of the talks we have been given in devotionals involve how often people get dear johned and how we should "lock our heart", but someone in this devotional pointed to his wife and said that she waited for him. This is when Elder Wawro enthusiastically said "He did it!!!!" (quoting the internet meme) it made me laugh super hard. Later that night, Chad Lewis was here and talked to us. He is an amazing man, and can jump stupidly high (I now know where Jesse gets it from) He talked about how we should always be missionaries, in everything that we do. Also that we should learn our language and be more than missionary fluent in it, and not to forget it. These two things are something I hope to keep with me forever.
Yesterday was a pretty good day. We skyped with the Dad who invited the foreign exchange student to live with him. It was a nice conversation, although he said something that really stuck out to me. After our lesson and talking in Danish, he said "Elder Swan, Sophia(The foreign exhange student) said something that I should tell you. She said that you have good Danish, and that you should speak more and not be so nervous." It made me realize something that I really have to work on. That I need to work on leading the discussions and talking more. (even in English I'm just a quiet kid.) But that is something I'm trying to work on this week. I hope I can fix it, because I want to speak and teach to the best of my ability.
Anyways, everything is going well. Still loving Danish, still living through the MTC.
Love you all,
Elder Swan