Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012

Dear Family and beloved friends,
TELL me this child does not look like an Asian version of Elora. I even showed her a picture of Elora and she agreed. I was dying. She reminded me SO much of her!

This is me sword fighting with one of our investigator's children. These kids are INSANE. They run around tirelessly literally 24-7. I love them.

This is a picture of some of the shimai brushing our teeth at the mission home when we stayed there the night before the all sisters conference.  

Today I taught a group of Jehovah's Witnesses the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was cool. It is so true that people can contradict anything you say but nobody can contradict a testimony. I love that. My testimony is something NO ONE can take away from me.
So on Friday we had an All SISTERS Conference. Where all the sisters in the mission came and we had lots of fun being girly. It was so nice. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in a pool of 10-21 year old BOY. My companion and I along with some other sisters who live far from the mission home where the conference was to be held came in the night before to have a sleepover at the mission home. It was SO fun!!!! We helped Sister Budge prepare things for the next day and we talked and laughed and practiced our musical number for the next day. Then we went to bed and woke up in the morning and a few of us went jogging together. While we were jogging we saw a park so we went to it. Just in time to find a park full of senior citizens (and we're talkin Japan so some of them were well over 85 years old) and they were all doing what is called "radio taiso" which is a little exercise program that people get together and do in parks ALL over Japan at around 6:30 every morning. It was so adorable I was dying. Obviously we joined them for the rest of their workout. Then we went back, got ready, and had an amazing conference complete with an exercise class to none other than jazzed up hymns. Those kill me. We also had a testimony meeting at the end which proved to make me become a hot mess. One of my companions is going home after this transfer (Stevenson shimai)  and then the next transfer another one (Mano shimai) and then the next transfer my MTC companion (Edstrom shimai) and then I go home! AHHH! It just kind of hit me when they were bearing their testimonies that I don't have much time left and it is gonna come quick. I just love it here so much I am terrified of going home. I LOVE being a missionary.

Okay so yesterday we were housing and inviting everyone to our Eikaiwa Halloween Party that is on Wednesday. We knocked on one lady's door and started talking about God and Jesus Christ and her life and such. We taught her about how through Jesus Christ we can overcome ALL. Then before we left we asked her if we could sing her a song. We sang her I am a Child of God and by the end of the hymn she was literally sobbing. She for SURE felt the spirit. Then I testified to her that she was feeling God's love and she is never alone. I really could feel His love for her. It was amazing. She just like fell into my arms crying. It was a really awesome experience. We are going to meet her again next Sunday. There are too many people in this world who don't know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them. THAT is why I am on a mission. Just one of the many reasons.

Next week: Look forward of a recap slash pics of me teaching the Thriller to the Eikaiwa students. (thanks to my babygurl allycat)

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Here are some more pictures Ariel sent home from October!

"Here is a glimpse of what missionaries indulge in when they get a very rare opportunity to go to costco. I now eat something with a tortilla almost daily and I'm LOVIN it."

"This is a picture taken when we went grocery shopping. A completely normal thing to find in every single grocery store and sometimes even convenience stores."

"Japanese people haven't quite gotten the jist of what Halloween is all about I guess. Bless them. They'll get it sooner or later."

"At the conference broadcast. From left to right: Me, Champenois shimai, Tsujigo shimai, Ogita shimai."

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

Hello familia, (that's Spanish)
Var generalkonferencen saa vidunderlig at det fik jer til at kaste op over det hele? That's Danish for: Was conference so wonderful that it made you throw up all over the place? (I love my companion) But seriously conference was THE BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE conference so much!!!! We watched it in a little room for people who wanted to watch in English. It pretty much consisted of only missionaries and like 2 other members and a couple investigators. An overlying theme I noticed about conference was about BEING disciples of Christ. Like we study, pray, go to church, go to seminary, institute, other activities, etc all to learn about Christ but if we aren't taking that knowledge and going out and doing what the Savior would do, what good is it for? Nothing. As I write this email I look into the eyes of the picture of Christ I have on my desk and I see all the love and kind word and deed from the creation of the world and I think, how lucky am I that the Savior of all mankind knows ME. He loves ME. And I can honestly feel that love. Everyday. Despite my weaknesses, He loves me. That ROCKS. And how bout the fact that every single person who has ever lived will have the chance to know that very truth for themselves? that ROCKS too! I feel so lucky to be a tiny little part of helping someone, anyone, know that divine truth. Kinda like in the Book of Mormon where it says in Alma chapter 26 vs. 30 "and all this, that PERHAPS we might be the means of saving some soul." I work my hardest every single day that PERHAPS even ONE soul might come to know that they have a Savior who loves them. And it feels good!
So this picture is of some squid pasta I ate today. You may wonder why it is black. Well that is simply because they use the ink to make the sauce of course! yum! Actually it was pretty delicious! It just made my whole mouth black. The lady we came with had it too and her entire mouth, teeth, lips, the works were BLACK. It was very hard for me to focus on anything she was saying. You know you are a missionary when you find yourself eating squid pasta because the lady you are with insists upon you trying out the Japanese cuisine. We are missionaries. We can't say no.

So my companion and I are opening an area, like I said in last weeks email. We have been working to get some new investigators and last night we went and visited a family who are potential investigators and we were able to make an appointment for them this week! woo!
Okay so I just remembered this story and I thought it was funny so imma write about it. Maybe probably you had to be there. ANyway,,,,,,, We were at District Meeting this week and we were all choosing which Christlike attribute we wanted to work on as a companionship. Then we were going around and sharing what we chose. Ok so first you have to know that my companion when you first meet her seems like this quiet, sweet, tender little lamb who would never even think of sarcasm. Also keep in mind that we are both new to the district so nobody knows what my companion is like. Also we are the only sisters in the district. Anyway we get to the District Leader and his companion and he explains that he and his companion decided they have no virtue so they were going to work on the Christlike attribute of virtue and my companion goes, "Do you need us to leave the room to help you out?" hahahahahaha there was a 5 second complete silence like, uhhhhh what's that, shy girl from Denmark? hahahhaha Then I had to explain that my companion seems harmless but she comes out of nowhere with these sarcastic comments. I thought it was funny. I hope you did too. Sometimes I worry that my stories don't register. If they don't, wait till I get home, they will for sure be funny told in person.
Okay love you!!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012

CONFERENCEWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like I know that probably no one reading this email is as excited as me about this butlike I LOVE CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!! I also know that you have all already watched it since in Japan we have to wait a week for it to get all translated and stuff. BUT let's just say excited in an understatement. And yes, I already heard that ELDERS CAN LEAVE AT 18 AND SISTERS AT 19!!!!!! Cool. tell us that 3 years too late. haha but that is really exciting because I think a lot more people will go on missions now! Even though I didn't think the elders could get any more fetus then they already are. This will be interesting. You would think that is the biggest news I have this week but NOPE you are wrong! I feel like SO MUCH has happened I just don't know where to begin! Let's start with the reason that I am emailing on Wednesday instead of Monday. Well, my companion and I got a call on Friday morning of last week thinking that the mission office was just going to tell us that we are both staying in our area and staying companions. Usually when you are training you don't transfer so you can train your companion for their first two transfers. Well our mission president calls and and he is like, well Sister Swainston you probably think since you're training and stuff you won't get transferred right? I was like yes..... And then he was like, well you're WRONG! You are getting transferred! And then I screamed. Yep full on in my Mission President's ear. I apologized for that later.. anyway, turns out BOTH my companion and I got transferred out of our area to open a new area where sister missionaries have never been. We call it "white wash" in our mission. So not only did I have to transfer and leave my beloved people of Hodogaya and say goodbye to my friends (pictures attached are of us saying goodbye- one of them is of the single adult girls and one of them is one of the young women in my ward whom I LOVE) and get the area ready for two elders to come in who know NOTHING about that area at all, but I had to teach my first transfer missionary companion how to transfer and all the procedures and stuff and then we hopped on a train to go to our new area called Yachiyo. We got here and were welcomed with open arms! Apparently this ward has been begging for sister missionaries for a long time. Our bishop met us at our new apartment (in his white hummer) and then took us and the elders in this area to COSTCO!!!! I was dying. I got tortillas and costco rolls and I am in heaven.

Also I forgot, the day before we left Hodogaya we had a lesson with a CUTE little 16 year old girl that we are teaching and we made a baptismal date for her for next month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is on the bottom right hand side of the last picture that I attached. I fully plan on going back to Hodogaya for her baptism!! I love her!!!!  

Well, there are I think 1000 more things that I am missing but I think that is the biggest news for the week. I am in a new area, brand new apartment, (it's yellow) and still Sister Champenois as my companion. Kickin it. Well, gotta go! We are going to go visit a Potential Investigator we met housing yesterday! Livin the life!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2, 2012

Yes. We had a typhoon. Yes. I am alive. It was nbd.
This picture was taken today when a bunch of the shimai from our mission went on a little outing together after going to the temple in the morning! And where did we go? Yes of course we went shopping at none other than Forever 21 in downtown Tokyo. I seriously LOVE this city!!!!! It is the bomb!!! And have I ever mentioned that I LOVE the sisters in this mission?! Well, I do. So much.

Okay so this week we have had a lot of miracles!!! We have been working really really hard to find new investigators lately and for a while we were having no luck at all. It was pretty disheartening I am not going to lie but as the Lord knows the exact formula of challenges and obstacles we need in order to grow in the exact way that we need to do it, I am all the better person for it. It is kinda like when you are going along in life and one sucky thing happens and then all the sudden 100 other sucky things happen two seconds later and you're like ummmm I am pretty sure I didn't order these things. BUT when all is said and done, you are on your knees thanking the Lord for what you have learned in a way that you wouldn't have been able to learn otherwise. (does that make sense? please pardon my grammatically incorrect sentences). Anyway the other day my companion and I were at the train station waiting for the elders and I was standing next to this girl in high school. Of course I started talking to her and I found out that she likes cooking. It just so happens that I had mom's cookie recipe (thanks mom!!!) written in my planner because I made cookies a few weeks ago for an activity. So don't doubt it, I stood there and wrote out mom's recipe on none other than a church flier. I gave it to her, invited her to a fall festival we were having in our ward and then the elders got there so we left. It was one of those finding situations where you just pray that they might call or show up but there is no way for you to contact them again. Fast forward 2 days later and we are at the fall festival at our church. My companion and I were making pancakes (which by the way were all the rage) and all of the sudden the girl from the station walks in!!! She came up to us and it was one of those moments where you meet one of the 100's of people you talk to on the streets for the second time and you panic a little bit like, where did I meet this person, who are they? I don't remember anything! But, after pretending I knew and talking a little bit I remembered. Thank goodness. Anyway, she brought a friend and we gave them a tour of the church and they BOTH became new investigators! It was SUCH a happy day!
Also a couple of days ago we were housing (knocking doors) and we met a CUTE little family of a mom and two little girls and they became investigators too!!!! So exciting!! The little girls are really excited about the whole being an eternal family thing. It is adorable. I LOVE THIS WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am praying for all of you! Keep on keepin on! Just when you think you can't go on any longer, just hold on a little bit longer and it is AFTER that trial of your faith that you will see the blessings! Maybe in the form of a family wanting to hear about how they can be together forever, maybe not.. ;)
ps: awkward moment of the week:
 Phone conversation with a member this week:
us: "brother soandso, is there anything we can do to help you?"
him: "yes, I would like you and your companion to give me a massage at church on sunday."
us: "uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh nope! We'll get the elders right on that!"
him: "no I want you and your companion"
likewhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttttttttttttt??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #notfunnybrothersoandsojustcreepyonly
(no need to share that one with the ward mom)