Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012

Dearest family and friends,
Another week as a missionary!! All this time and I legit every day have the omgimamissionaryinjapan moments. Yep, they don't go away!
First things first, the attached picture is of Mano shimai (my companion), me, and one of our investigators. And yes your eyes aren't mistaking you.
We are at what is called an Aloha Yoga class. First ballet, then yoga, what's next?! Can't wait! Our investigator took us to the class and I literally
had to do everything in my power to hold back my laugh at the noises these people were making as they exhaled. Bottom line, my body is definitely
not the same as it used to be. There is something about missionary work that makes you hurt in places you never knew existed and you wake up in
the morning not sure how to go about getting out of bed but then you just want to do it all over again! It's maybe a little bit like pregnancy, or so I hear.
You just forget about all the pain because the good parts outweigh the bad.
On to some more serious stuff. So this week I was sitting in Relief Society having one of those moments where I had absolutely no idea what they were
saying (yes those still happen frequently) so I silently read from the George Albert Smith book where we were studying out of. I got to page 107 and it was talking about like reading scriptures as a family or something. Anyways, I was thinking about how in my family there was NEVER a time where my dad was too busy or we
were even allowed to be too busy for church. It is one of those things that I didn't realize at the moment but my parents were teaching me how to prioritize
my life with the things of eternity and eternal consequence always coming first. It is like one of my favorite Mormon Messages "Moments That Matter Most"
Life isn't about making ourselves busy with the world. It is about slowing down a little and lifting up our eyes to the things that matter most. I LOVE THAT.
This life rocks. And if your life doesn't ROCK, God wants it to so figure it out!
Okay that's all I have for this week! Eat a spoonful of peanut butter for me ok! Then call your local missionaries for a nice visit.
Sister Swainston

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012

So this is kinda weird writing since I just skyped with my family a few hours ago..
Nevertheless, another great week in the mission field!! Miracles are happening right and left! Literally every single day on a mission you see a miracle. It is pretty awesome.
I don't know if you want to call this a miracle or not but Lady Gaga is currently in Japan. I know this only because we have an investigator who went to her concert last night. And the best part is she sent us pictures from her concert on our phone. We almost cried laughing as we were scrambling trying to remember any Lady Gaga songs (which we couldn't do for the LIFE of us) so we could relate it to the gospel. Don't doubt it was easily gospel relatable. Which brings me to my next point. I have decided I would like to do a "You know you're a missionary when you..." quote if you will every week.
This week: You know you're a missionary when you say things like, "I can't believe I've never topical guide-ed the word light yet!"
   Another:  You know you're a missionary when you get asked to do a ghetto dance by your family on skype and you LOST your ghetto-ness. (I'm so ashamed)
Anyway, my companion and I have been having a lot of those moments lately so we decided we would start writing them down.
Let's see what else.... Oh I forgot to tell you that last week we were waiting for someone to meet us at this huge building place thing (good description I know) and all the sudden we found ourselves in a full on fairy museum. Yep I guess Japanese people are fascinated with fairies? I don't know.. BUT it was hilarious because the lady working there was DEAD serious about this museum. It wasn't normal at all. But funny.
Yesterday I was sitting in church next to our bishop's wife and our most recent convert and I was just looking around at all the members and I literally wanted to cry (I probably did) but I was so overwhelmed with a feeling of such deep love for these people. As I got up to sing in the ward choir and Fukuda san (our most recent convert) was up there singing with us, I felt like I was just with my family. These people mean the world to me. They teach me so much through their example and their dedication to the Lord and the gospel. I know I have probably said this before but it really is a feeling of love and joy I didn't really know that existed before my mission.
I LOVE this work so much and am SOOOOO glad I am on a mission. I don't know what kind of person I would be if I had never met the people I have and made the friends that I have made.
I hope everyone gave their mom a huge hug and told her you love her. I love my mom more than words can properly describe and there is definitely NO WAY I could ever express how much she has changed my life and made me into the person I am. To this day I think of her example of love and charity when I want to be more like my Savior. Mom YOU ROCK. Seriously.
gossip girl
p.s. Dad I thoroughly enjoyed watching you do the wop on skype today. So did my companion. Also glad to see you still got your suspenders on. Yep, that's my dad!  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8, 2012

A birthday in Japan, better than I could have EVER imagined!!!
The fact that I am 22 right not but really not 22 yet because I was born in America and time is different… idk idk really confusing BUT I feel old nonetheless.
So for my birthday I have had A LOT of fun!! Attached is a picture of a picture (sorry) of the purikura that my companion and I took today. I am obsessed with purikura so naturally that was included in the birthday festivities.
Yesterday at church I received more birthday presents than I have ever received in my life from members in the ward. I wanted to cry I was so touched!! Most of them involve food so now you know the source of the extra poundage I seem to find daily.
Today for my birthday we went to some AMAZING food places all around Utsunomiya including a bread shop that has the best croissant I have ever put into my mouth. We took some purikura and met some UNIQUE people on the streets as we did our dendo time.
Yesterday we were at church and in walks this woman from off the street saying she wanted to check out our church. We gave her a Book of Mormon and like that she was off! It was SO COOL!!! I think that was my birthday gift from God.
As you know, Saturday was Cinco de Mayo. (I miss Mexican food like it’s my job) so my companion and I made some Mexican tacos that were DELICIOUS and had a mini fiesta during our lunch time.
Sorry this email was so short slash random but since we did a lot of playing today for my birthday I didn’t have much time!!
Love you all! Thank you for all the birthday wishes!!!
Sister Swainston

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

This week has been magical. I will just illustrate one story. But before I do the picture attached is with a new investigator we have whom we call beautiful nail. thats all. Now for the story.
Ok so we had a plan to go to Nikko (famous place with japanese shrines and stuff) with a girl we met at a community potluck party thing a while ago. We had no idea how the day was going to go. So she pulls up and runs into 7-11 to go to the bathroom and tells us to get into the car. We open the car doors and first of all there is music blaring and second of all it smells like smoke. So we get in and we are like OH NO!! what do we do what do we do it's Backstreet Boys playing, I know every word, what do I do what do I do. We were laughing SO hard. Then she gets back into the car and within one minute starts asking us about church and missionary work and stuff. So we were like testifying of prophets to the soft sounds of Larger Than Life in the background nbd. It was the BEST. By the time she was dropping us off at home she was telling us that (first of all she felt the spirit) and she wants to become a nicer person and she feels like her heart is starting to change and her thoughts and ideas are changing too. She told us that being with us was like study for her and she wants to be like us. Needless to say it was a dream. I could have never thought up teaching someone about the gospel to the sound track of BSB with no ther than Mano shimai as my companion. Wouldn't want it any other way!!!
Ok so this week in district meeting we were given a questionnaire and I thought it was really cool so I wanted to share a couple of them. One question was, What does the gospel mean to you personally? My answer: Impossible to put into words. pass. JKJKJK The gospel means that there is a purpose to all things. It means there is a way to overcome all pains and heartache and guilt etc. It means this life is not IT. It means there is indescribable joy awaiting us if we just hold on and do our best. It means there is so much more to life than the menial tasks of society. I guess a better way to answer this question might be, What DOESN'T the gospel mean to me personally?
Not much time so I will share more next week! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
ps. shoutout to the Whitney Ranch ward this lovely fast Sunday: Dear Ward, please call up your missionaries, invite them over for a nice meal. When the meal is over talk with them about people in your life who are in need of the gospel. After that, SHARE IT. Share the joy. Help your missionaries. It is them you should be helping YOU do missionary work. Not the other way around. The Lord will bless you even more than He already is. LOVE YOU!!!