Elder Swan is serving in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission from July 2013 to July 2015

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best week so far! 1/26/2014

 This is my new area in Pou'ono
The water here is beautiful, it is so amazing!

Okay so this week was pretty good! It was actually the best week of my mission! I actually feel like a real missionary! I don't stay home and study all day! I go out and work my tail off! My comp and I are working super hard! We love talking to everyone! My Tongan has gotten a lot better with the help of Elder Haleki! We have 2 families we are teaching and also a few Catholic families that love us but we are trying to teach! They are awesome! It is amazing how much work two White Elders can do just by smiling and being nice to everyone! My Area is in the middle of town. It takes like 2 min. to walk there. Also the Wharf is there. It's a beautiful view! My house looks the same as my other one! All MQ's are the same, well, most of them. SO this week our numbers were really good! We work all day and our area is HUGE so we just walk and talk to everyone. We plant many seeds! This area has a lot of work for us and we love it. My comp is like my best friend and we just laugh all the time! Our district only has us two and the Zone leaders! So all of us speak English and they can all help me! All four of us are super close and it is awesome! I don't really know a lot about our investigators! But one is really shy and committed to reading Alma 32. His name is Tevita. We are also teaching a family of 8 and a family of 7 and plus the Catholic families. They are all so nice and I hope they will receive the desire to search for the truth. There is this 12 year old boy named Sione and he is the only one that is active in his family! He was the one that wanted us to go see his family! So we do and they are willing to listen but the Dad is kinda unwilling to change. I have been studying Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and found this really cool quote about friendship.  O pehe "There are many souls whom I have loved stronger than death. To them I have proved Faithful-- to them I am determined to prove faithful, until God calls me to resign up my breath." I just want to thank all my family and friends who have been faithful to this Gospel and to myself. The examples you have all set in my life have blessed me more than I can even comprehend. I also have come to realize the importance of friendship! I am striving to be friends with EVERYONE. I know through friendship we are able to share the gospel. God is able to share his love through us and that is my goal! Sorry this isn't too long but This week we will do some work and continue to progress in our knowledge of this beautiful gospel! I love you all so much! I also apologize for how big of a mess this letter is... All over the place... Also my awful spelling! 

Ofa atu,
Elder Swan

So this was another boat adventure I took. We got to go pick up all the Elders from Motu for our Mission Conference. Motu is just all the other islands with no Internet and what not.

I don't know how I keep hurting myself but I do...
While jumping off the boat onto the Wharf I slipped and smacked my leg on the cement corner. I actually fell in the ocean waist deep. I caught myself but it was a really lame awkward experience and I looked super
 un-athletic. Haha It's all good though!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Area, New Companion ~ I love It! 1/19/2014

On my way to Vava'u

Family, Friends, Lovers, Psych!! 

So this was my first week in Vava'u. I have been serving in an area called Pou'ono. It is right in the middle of town and by the wharf. It is a super beautiful place and every missionary says it's the best area here. So on Wednesday I left on a boat called otuangaofa. It was a 24 hour boat ride.. It was good but really long and some kids got sick... We stopped in Ha'apai to drop some supplies off because they got hit really bad with the Cyclone. It was so sad to see all the damage! They got hit super hard.  We also had to pick up my companion! His name is Elder Haleki from Utah. He is half Palangi (white) and half Mexican. He is 21 and went to school in Ogden. He's also a marine! Which is cool! He is super smart and teaches me things everyday! We got to our area and he didn't have clothes that were clean and hadn't showered for a week because of the storm. So our first two days were spent cleaning our house because the other Elders left it a mess and washing his clothes. A little bit about this area. It hasn't had a set of good missionaries for a very long time. Which makes me happy. That means they will trust us when they see us working and also that there is a lot of work to do here because the old missionaries haven't been doing it! So Elder Haleki and I are soo excited to get working. On Sunday we met with the 2nd wards Bishop and ward missionary leader to talk a little bit and also get referrals! We got two referrals and taught one Sunday night. His name was Tevita and his wife is a member but he isn't. He said he believed the Tohi a Molomona and also that Siosefa Samita was a true prophet! But we think he just said so to get us to leave so he could go to sleep! haha so we will work with him! We also got a Family referral and we are teaching them tonight! I'm super excited. Their son is the only member of the family and he is 12. So hopefully we can teach the rest of them. Other than that there hasn't been a lot that has happened. It's a new area for both of us so we are just trying to get rolling! Oh yeah and My comp is learning Chinese so maybe I'll learn some of that.. Haha Yeah right! I love you all so much and lets just say My last 12 weeks in Tofoa were just the pre game. I finally have a companion with the desire to work like I do and he is also able to teach me. Things are gonna be good! 

Ofa lahi atu kimoutolu,

Elder Swan
Hey dad. My area is Pou'ono. It's the town in Vava'u. I love my comp. He is
from Utah. He is a Marine..... He's a Lance Corporal! But he is a super
nice kid and helps me so much. He has been praying for an opportunity to
help a palangi with the language! We talk about military stuff a lot
because one of our ZL's wants to join too.
His name is Elder Riddle. I told him you were a
Green Beret and he almost died. He wants to e mail you sometime.

I've learned more these past 4 days than the past 12 weeks! I love it!
Love you dad! Be safe!
Elder Swan
Elder Harmon, Elder Swan and Elder Cruser

Beautiful Tongan Islands
So happy to be on a boat!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cyclone Ian hit the Tongan Islands

Here are some pictures of the the Cyclone that hit Tonga the weekend of Jan. 11th. I was able to take these pictures when I got off the boat in Ha'apai. This Island was hit really hard, it was so sad to see all the damage.  

My new companion Elder Haleki

Friday, January 17, 2014

1st Transfer and Cyclone all in one week 1/12/2014

Well, first off I don't know if you have heard about the Cyclone. We were listening to the radio and it said it was a category 4 which I think is pretty bad. Luckily where I am we didn't get hit hard at all but it was still pretty scary. Ha'apai got hit really hard and this week people on Tongatapu have been getting things together to send over there to help them out! Also some of Vava'u got hit but not too hard. However, for me, I have never seen anything or heard anything like that in my life. It was SUPER windy and rainy and I got very little sleep because of the noise. 

And now for other big news I'm finally getting transferred! I had an interview with the President last week and he told me I was being transferred this week, so I waited to find out where... And guess what....... I'm actually moving this time haha! The Zone Leaders told me last night I'm going to Vava'u! I'm so excited to get outta this area with a new start!  Unfortunately they don't know what part of Vava'u or who my companion is! So I'll find out soon I guess! I think I leave on an 18 hour boat ride tomorrow! We go from here to Ha'apai and then to Vava'u! That will be fun... Haha 

About our investigators! We weren't able to do much work this week because our Villages' team was in the Finals of a Rugby Tournament! So If you know Tonga... God, Family, Rugby! There was nobody home! Also Sione had work all week. We teach him tonight! So I'm hoping to share something with him to help him find the truthfulness of this Gospel and help begin the rest of his search for eternal life! Masii, Ko Ngaue i heni ko  Faka'ofo'ofa aupito! I love this work. It's the work of God! Sorry this is short, I'm kinda in a hurry to go and get packed up! 

I love you all soo much and miss ya like crazy but Hey, you only serve a mission once, and only a select few get to serve in Misiona Tonga! So with that I thank my Heavenly Father! And all of you for preparing me the best you could!

Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu!

Elder Suani!
Celebrating a Birthday Party!

 Lot's of good food

So we went to visit Miss Tonga... Sadly she wasn't home but I tried
on her Sash...  :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

First Week of 2014

My Tongan Name tag
 This week was awesome!

So I'll just start off by saying our water is still out! We haven't stayed in our MQ for 2 weeks now. So Over NEW YEARS we stayed in Longolongo with Elder Hefa and Elder Larsen! So New Years Eve was good we bought some Ice Cream (best in the world) and knocked off oreos and two 2 liters of sprite. Around 10:15 we began to eat and Elder Lutui was there on a vilo hoa (Exchange) so it was Larsen, My comp, Lutui and me. I actually got chocked out with an iron cord so how about that to end my 2013 year!? We decided to stay in Fanga with Elder Gagon and Tauvaka (with the permission of the Zone Leaders) because it was a shorter walk to our area. So We have been there for 4 nights now. 

My companion said it's his last year and he wants to finish strong! So that made me happy! We taught 8 lessons this week which is more than we have in the past 4 weeks! We taught the two kids and asked them to be baptized this week and they said yes but their dad wants them to wait until February for who knows what reason!? So that was disappointing.. After that I had these feelings that I was worthless and that I am doing absolutely nothing here. That I could do better somewhere else. Just the typical downer feelings. But after teaching them we went to our ward mission leaders house and got a referral and went to teach the referral right then. We got there and taught and it went very well! At the end we asked him to be baptized and he said YES, so we asked him when he thinks he can and he said Tomorrow! So we hurried and went over the baptism interview questions and answered his questions he had and the Zone Leaders came and interviewed him and he got baptized on Saturday. He received the Holy Ghost on Sunday, and we are teaching him again tonight. His name is Sione Viau. He is about 21 or something like that. But It reminded me of the saying how when you're the lowest you can possibly be that's when God lifts you up and gives you the Miracles you need to keep pushing forward. 

As For Sione Kiu the Soldier, we weren't able to teach him! He is super busy with work but we are gonna try super hard to baptize him this week! In Our last district meeting I was thinking we don't really make district goals so I made one that is to have 6 baptisms as a district before transfers on the 13th. So Far we have one but one thing a lot of people don't have on me is Faith! I'm not the smartest but I have a lot of Faith and I put it in Christ to help me. So Each Companionship needs 2 baptisms this week, but we need one! I am going to work super hard and try my best to Accomplish that goal! 

I hope all is well with you all back home! I love you all tons!

Elder Swan

Sione Viau Baptism 1/4/2014

 What are you doing???

A week of pictures 1/5/2014

Love this KID!!!!

Quidditch Anyone? :)
Having some fun after the Service Project

Ngaue'ofa ~Service Project on Christmas Eve