Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013

Hello all! This will be my last email and I am sorry but it will be a short one! Just to get everything straight, I come home on Tuesday March 26th. Three weeks after that, I will be going to BYU Hawaii. Crazy huh!!! The Lord has a plan for me! Can't wait to find out!
Okay so today I went to the Tokyo temple for the last time. Sitting in the celestial room thinking about all I have to be grateful for, my heart felt like it was going to burst with peace and joy. I thought I would feel REALLY stressed and be super freaking out and sad at my last temple day but as I sat there and prayed under that beautiful chandelier with the Japan rays of sun shining through the window, warming my back, all I could pray about was what I was grateful for. I couldn't even THINK about any worries I had or anything. God blessed me with complete peace. I cannot even BEGIN to explain all the blessings, miracles, and amazing experiences I have experienced on my mission.  It is unreal how much the Lord blesses you when you serve His children. I am honored to have been able to wear our Savior Jesus Christ's name on my chest for a year and a half. I know I will thank God every single day for my mission because it has changed me more than I know I will ever realize. God lives. He LOVES us. He sent His Son to this earth to die for us that we may live again as He is. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
I love you all!!! See you in a week! Until then, I'll be preachin the word and loving every minute!!!!
 love love
p.s. the attached picture is of the beatiful SAKURA trees that only bloom for about a week in the whole year in Japan. I am lucky enough to catch them JUST before I come home!!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

Random story of dendo is all I have time for. Okay so yesterday we taught a recent convert about Jesus Christ and how to become like Him. She is so bomb I love this lady. Her name is Sister Yamanoi and she is an angel. So SO humble and wants so bad to become a good person and to follow Christ. Anyway, we commited her to ask God what service she could do that day and in any way she could serve someone else. We told her it could even be something such as a smile or a hello. She said she would do her best. This lesson was during Sunday School and after church she came up to me and was like, Sister Swainston, I don't know if I can do it today. Even though I had just seen her personally going around to every member in sight and smiling and saying hello to them. I told her, Yamanoi shimai you're already doing it! I saw you! She got so happy and had this look of determination to go out and do good like Christ. I thought, if we could all submit to what the Lord wants us to do and immediately act upon the direction we are given, this world would be so much brigher and full of smiles and hellos! I love learning from children and people who have a heart of a child!
May this week be the best week yet!
Love you all!
Love love
p.s. The picture attached is of my companion with the Swainston Consulting Group calculator that I gave her and she LOVED.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

Dear Swainston Family,
Hello! I'm Sister Ono, Sister Swainston's companion. I just wanted to thank you for your sacrifice to let your wonderful daughter (sister) go on a mission. She has been my companion for almost three month, and she's amazing. She's kind, nice, fun, very very fluent in English, has lots of talents, and a great teacher both for my English or as a missionary. She always teach me many things. I'm so grateful for her example:) But especially, I LOVE her testimony. It is so strong and full of the spirit. I love her. I'm so sad that she's going home soon, but I'm sure we will meet again in Hawaii which makes me so excited to go back and of course, she will be a blessing to many people (especially to Japanese people)!
She is so fun to be with, and we experienced so many fun staff! This week an eikaiwa student gave her a Beyonce CD.... The best part is that he is a Japanese man in his 60s..  and his name is Kippo...hahaha We LOVE Yachiyo!
Anyways, I love you, Swainston Family:)
Sister Ono
Dearest all,
I love that girl. I told her to write my weekly email for me and that's what she wrote... Isn't she AMAZING at English? Anyways, this past Friday we had the wonderful opportunity to have an all mission conference with none other than Elder Russell M. Nelson as the special guest. It was incredible. Such a sacred experience that I will never forget. The first thing he said to us was Thank you. Then he said "p.s. to your families, tell them Brother Nelson says thanks". He talked about how the Lord is hastening His work in so many ways. He also talked about how in life and especially in missionary work we feel inadequate and not able to fulfill the measure of our responsibility. How it is unlikely for a bunch of young girls and boys to go around in a brand new language changing people's eternity. Then he said "Doesn't seem logical does it? Welcome to the club. The Lord uses the unlikely to fulfill promises and you are the unlikely." I love that! A lot of times we are the unlikely and that's just it! We don't need to be anything more, the Lord is the one doing all the work anyway. This work is true! We are just the lucky ones who get to take part in the Lord's miracles and boy am I grateful to be on the front lines in this war against evil cuz in the end, WE WIN.
Love you all!!!
ps: oh yeah, we went to Costco today. This is a pic of my companion TOTES excited.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 17, 2013

This week... Went by SO FAST. I couldn't believe it! This week I taught the ABC's to 3 adult Peruvians, held a chocolate making activity for Valentine's day, made one million snickerdoodles for every member in our ward for church yesterday, almost got eaten by a few dogs who were not into hearing the gospel, and much much more!
The picture I attached is of this little Peruvian girl named Angie who is in our ward. I am obsessed with her she is HILARIOUS. I accidentally did the letters backwards on her chocolate. oops!!
Okay so I just want to share one experience from yesterday. So we had 4 different appointments set up for after church yesterday and every single one of them fell through so we were like uhhhh now what? haha so we wnded up visiting this lady named Mitani san who my companion found housing on exchanges a couple of weeks ago. She belongs to some sort of organization that advocates the importance of families so we brought her a copy of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World". As we were standing on her porch in the FREEZING cold and she was talking to us about her family and Ono shimai was talking about how the Book of Mormon blesses families I just felt that exquisite joy that comes from nothing else but missionary work. The kind of joy that I have only felt on my mission. I LOVE that. I was freezing cold (no joke, thought my toes were going to fall off), this lady didn't really want to join our church or anything but I still felt pure JOY. That is such a miracle to me. It just goes to show that when we are doing what we are supposed to do, being a "good girl or a good boy" as Elder Bednar says, we can feel joy! Even if we are not succeeding or physically and mentally exhausted, ther is joy in righteous living no matter what. It is because of the hope that comes from knowing that principle that I can wake up every morning, work my hardest, and then wake up the next morning and do it again. And so it will be for the rest of my life. I love this gospel so much!!! We have it all!!!!
Hope you all have a JOYOUS week too! You know I will!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013

A new transfer! My LAST transfer..........................
Anyways, I am still in Yachiyo with Sister Ono. Ending with a Japanese companion! WOOOOO!!!! This is my 4th transfer in Yachiyo. Longer than I have stayed in any other area. It'll have been a third of my mission once I get done and I don't hate it at all!!! LOVE it here!!
Today we went golfing with an Eikaiwa student and one of our other friends. Let's just say I am not a natural. There was a man golfing next to me and he saw me try once and then immediately came over to fix my form and everything else I was doing wrong. It was funny slash fun.
Okay so this past week we had one of my favorite activities on this planet, MUSIC NIGHT. Seriously I LIVE for these things. We had many entries and they all sang. Boy am I so excited to one day show you the videos I took of this night. Fernando, the CUTE Peruvian recent convert grandpa sang this song in Spanish and it was CLASSIC. I was actually doing everything in my power to compose myself. Then afterward we were talking about Karaoke (because Japan has these amazing karaoke places on every other block that America needs to get) and Fernando was like let's just come to the church and do God's karaoke! I guess you would have to see him to know how cute and funny it was but just know that I love this man. Also I made one of the Elders in my area sing and he sang a hymn but before it started I told him he had to be dead serious and sing it hipster but really really dramatic. Best rendition of Lead Kindly Light I've heard in a long while. Ono shimai and I sang good ol' Olive Tree. It was a great night.
We have been having some more interesting experiences housing. This past week we knocked on a door and this lady from Thailand came out (holla to my girl Shannon! SO wish you were there). Anyway she couldn't really speak Japanese or English (yep, tried that too) but she was SUPER nice and let us in because it was freezing outside. Once we got in she opened the door to where her husband was (he was Japanese) and he was like, what are they doing here?! who are these people?! we explained we were missionaries and he was like WHAT?! I am a different religion, you cannot be here!! and then he kinda went off on us and his wife, not happy that we were there. He was a little drunk too. So he was super mad and then one second later he was like here, here's some chocolate. Take it and be on your way.. So we took it and apologized and then we left. When we left we walked down the apartment building and we could hear her husband yelling at her. I stopped, seriously started crying as I just prayed as hard as I could for this woman, I felt so bad. But after I prayed I got the same reassurrance that I get about most things I pray about, I know that God has a plan for her. He loves her just as much as He loves me. I felt better and then went on my way. Missionary work is like that a lot. We do our best and then when they don't listen or a situation beyond our control keeps people from the gospel, we just have to pray and leave it up to the Lord. And so it is with life. God knows us. He knows everything. We just have to let it all go and let Him take care of it. I've learned that time and time again. It is true every time!!!
Love you all! Have a good week! Do a good deed! Say hello to a stranger! Okay imma stop.. haha

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013

Hello all!
This week has been really fun! Nothing crazy, just a normal week of dendo but it is so fun! We have met some really interesting people on the streets and housing. The other day we were housing and this man told us for like 10 minutes about why he hates religion and then asked us to give up and go home. We also met this girl in front of a park close to our church and we taught her about the Savior and the Restoration and the spirit was really strong. Then right there on the street we prayed together and after we were done she was like "thank you for those warm words". She for sure felt the spirit. Every single time I get to teach and testify of the Restoration I feel the spirit so strong and I feel a joy that I can't really put into words. I LOVE it!!
This week one of our Eikaiwa students taught us how to make soba which is a Japanese noodle. I attached a couple of pics of that. I had to take a model pic of my cute apron. I also attached a pic of a sunset that we saw the other day. Sunsets are beautiful here. I have like a thousand pictures of them.
In other news, there actually is none. Just know I am happy, enjoying learning through the good and the bad how to better rely on my Savior to do things I clearly cannot do myself. The work is moving. No matter if I can see immediate results every day or not. I love my Savior!!!
love you!

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

Attention everyone: I rode a bike today for the first time since NOVEMBER. Yes, I am out of shape. Yes, I did almost die riding up my first hill. Little rusty. Don't worry I'll get back into the swing of things.
Okay so don't feel weird that I sent you a picture of a meal at McDonalds. I just wanted you to see how small hamburgers are here. That was a "Mega-Mac", the Big-Mac's fat older brother. I ate that today (so much for looking like a normal human by the time I get home. workin on it. promise!) anyway I was thinking the "Mega-Mac" would be huge so ordered it and then it was accidentally the size of like a kid's meal cheeseburger. So then I took a picture.
I also included a picture of Fernando with the Elders who are in the same area as me right now. (Elder Crandall, Elder Clark). Fernando is a recent convert with an incredible testimony and fire to share the gospel. He is in his 60s and from Peru so he doesn't speak much Japanese but I do my best in Spanish. How CUTE is he?!?! Everytime I see him I wanna cry because he is so adorable. He still has the right after baptism glow.
Today one of the members in the ward left of his mission and I literally felt like one of my brothers was leaving for his mission when I was saying goodbye to him. He's the one in the third picture kneeling on the floor making a kissy face. Seriously I love Yachiyo Ward like they are my literal family. These people mean SO much to me!!!!
Okay like I have to go plan for tomorrow so talk to you next week!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 2013

Hello from the ARCTIC NORTH.
Seriously it is so cold here I can't even know what to do with myself. Today we were outside by the train station giving out fliers for Eikaiwa and I literally thought I was going to die. It is times like those that you just have to do weird things to have fun and get the cold off your mind slash then you have to remind yourself that after trials come blessings. Plus, it could be much worse. I could be serving my mission somewhere like Russia or something. #goodthingGodknowsme
Anyway, as you might be able to tell by the fact that I am emailing so late, this week has been SUPER busy. But I would much rather prefer busy weeks then weeks when we have no appointments. We have been blessed. Thanks for your prayers! So on Sunday we had a little girl named Momoka's baptism. She is 8 and her parents are members but her mom wanted her to choose for herself slash understand what she was commiting to by being baptized so we taught her all of the lessons. I have done that a few times on my mission and I love it! The first picture I attached is of my companion and I and Momoka. She is an angel I love her SO much!
In other news, I no longer have the boot! I have graduated to normal shoes and a really cute lace up brace thingy when I don't wear boots that support my ankle. It feels great to walk normal again! Also the doctor says I can run, dance, ride my bike, etc. I went to the hospital on the navy base again and on that same day there was a giant snow storm in Tokyo slash surrounding areas. So that day was filled with stopped trains and lots of traffic no matter where we went. Everyone doesn't know what to do with themselves when it snows her apparently. The second picture I attached is of me when it just started snowing. As you can see I am not very recognizable as a human these days because it is so cold that I just put on pretty much every article of clothing I own. The third picture I attached I took when waiting for our train at the platform of the train station. That is also not too long after it started snowing. I love the train stations btw. They don't get old to me I still always feel like I am in a movie or something when I go on the train which is pretty much every day...
Yesterday we went on splits with another area in the mission called Hibarigaoka. As sisters we do splits about twice a transfer. It is where we trade companions for a day and get to learn from another person and miracles ALWAYS happen. I went on splits with this sister who I am obsessed with I seriously love her. Her name is Nagamine shimai. Well we had a lesson in the morning with an investigator who we haven't been able to meet for about a transfer. We taught her and everything was just flowing really well. The Spirit was DEFINITELY guiding this lesson. Then at the end of the lesson we got on our knees and our investigator prayed and it was SO bomb. She was full on having a conversation with God when up until now she would always just read the pamphlet that has 'how to pray' written in it. The spirit was SO strong and for the millionth time I received a witness from the Holy Ghost that God really is there. He loves all of us and wants to hear from us all the time. He is waiting to hear from His children. It was during this split that I once again felt the absolute PURE joy that comes from teaching the restored gospel. It is something so exquisite that I could never put in words but I can say that I feel so blessed to be a part of God's work right now. The work is hastening! Like it says in Doctrine and Covenants section 88 verse 73, "I will hasten my work in its time" well I KNOW that the time has come!!! So don't wait! Don't be left behind because it is a lot funner to be a part of this amazing work then sit on the sidelines. I love this gospel so much and I love my Savior!
I love you all!!!!!
ps I taught my companion "too legit to quit" the other day. You should hear her say it. You should also hear her say "dang it" which she also started to say because of me. My biggest triumph was when a member in my ward (she is like a 50 something year old lady mind you) started to say a little phrase that I ALWAYS say (in Japanese) and she said it once and was like, oops! I started saying that because of you! It was then that I had the reassurance that my personality is being portrayed when I speak Japanese. I don't even know if that explanation made sense.. Oh well..

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013

Hello all!
Picture number one is a picture of me today eating pig tongue. We went to a buffett like place and it was amazing. It had everything you could imagine. Including a cotton candy machine. Picture number two is of this CUTE little girl in my ward who I am obsessed with. She wore a kimono because it was the first Sunday of the new year. New years is a big deal to these people.
In other news, this morning I taught my companion the word holla. It wasn't the easiest explaining to her when it is used. Let's just say it feels good teaching a Japanese companion to be ghetto again. I love it. Also we have been doing morning exercise to a pop-ed up primary song CD called popcorn bopping (thanks to Uncle Brent and Aunt Melodie!!!!) and we are learning a rap from it. Be looking forward to a video of that.
Yesterday was fast Sunday and like every person in our ward got up and bore their testimony. (it's a small ward) But I have to say that I love these people so much they are amazing. You would be shocked at the amount of faith and love they have. One member went housing with us yesterday it was the bomb.
I LOVE missionary work!!!
Love you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! It is 2013! I am in the future!!

A new year, a new transfer and a new COMPANION!!!! Yep! That's right! She's JAPANESE! I am so happy!!! I have only had one other Japanese companion on my mission. Her name is Sister Ono and she is the bomb. She is from Okayama which is a place by Hiroshima. She is on her 7th transfer (I'm on my 11th now) and she is an angel!  Remember last year when I took the "last picture of 2011" with my companion? Well, I did it this year too! (after we popped a bottle of Martinellies). Also for New Years Eve we went to a member's home and had a traditional Japanese New Years dinner. Sushi and chicken and shrimp and other Japanese foods that I can't explain in English. It was so much fun! (picture included).

We had another baptism on Saturday (the elder's investigator) and it was an amazing service. The person who got baptized has been an investigator for over 5 years. After he was baptized he gave his testimony and it was amazing. He told his conversion slash life story and he has not had the easiest life but the gospel has helped him to feel true joy. It was really a testimony to me that whoever, wherever, no matter what circumstance, the gospel can make you happier then you can ever imagine. It also gave me hope for all the people I have taught on my mission who are not quite ready to receive the gospel. I know that one day they will and I cannot wait to see their faces light up with the joy of the gospel changing them for good.

The Lord is 100% in every single details of our lives and I am so grateful for that. I spent some time today thinking of my goals and what things I want to accomplish in 2013. It is gonna be a great year. I am sure of that.

Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas from the Japan Tokyo Mission!

Hello everyone!! Merry Christmas from the Japan Tokyo Mission!!! We made this video at a mission conference on Christmas Eve! May the love of the Savior be on your minds and in your heart all year round! I love you all!
Merry Christmas!

Sister Swainston