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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sharing my Testimony 9/21/2014

This week we did not hear from Tyler so I thought I would share his testimony that he wrote in a letter a few months ago. 

I am writing this letter to share my testimony and to let you know how much I have grown. Not only in my stomach but in spirit. My testimony of this Gospel has become immovable. I have built my foundation on a rock and no storm can move that Rock. Even when people tell me I am wrong and that I am just a kid and don't know, I can stand up and say that I do know. I have searched and struggled to find an answer and I have found one. It's true and I know it! So starting with that I would like to share my testimony with all of you... Whoever ends up reading this.
Before I start I would like to thank mom and dad for the example (sipingu lelei) you've given me. I put you through a lot but I am here because of you and I thank you! It has been and will continue to be the best thing/experience in my life!
This Gospel is the most beautiful thing to have ever been placed on his earth. There are so many complicated working pieces to it as I go on in my study, but it is also very simple. Starting with faith in Christ. I've always been developing and strengthening my faith and I know that with faith all things are possible, I have had some faith testers, but through those only my faith has grown.
I have put my faith to action (mission, tracting, taking risks etc...) and I have found Christ will help as we put our faith to works!
Now what I want to focus on is my testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have done so much study on it and found so many answers. The Atonement is the heart of this Gospel. Without it there is no gospel, no repentance, no eternal life. Through and only through the Atonement we receive Eternal life. Jesus Christ... He is my redeemer, my savior, he is my life. He went to Gethsemane and took upon Him my sins. He signed his name over mine on each and every sin. The pain was incomprehensible and he could have stopped but he had already started and he would finish because of his love for his brother's and sister's, for Elder Swan. He had the support of an Angel to push him through. What blows my mind is that he went through Gethsemane then was betrayed and taken to be Crucified on the cross... The pain of being nailed hands and feet to a cross to only be mocked and tempted by Satan. He then, hanging on the cross being mocked and tempted went through the same pains as in the garden of Gethsemane . He paid for each of ours sins again. He went through it all again except this time there was no angel to comfort him, God withdrew his spirit leaving Christ completely alone. He could have come down and proved he was the Son of God but instead he went through pains no one could ever be able to comprehend , and died, 3 days later Resurrected and living again. Just for you and me, Elder Swan. Through this heroic act by my Lord and Savior I am now able to repent, become clean, follow his example and return to live with them and my family for eternity. 
He suffered and died for me, was resurrected and is now living. Through Him we can receive Eternal life. I'm looking forward to my growth in the Gospel to become an immovable mountain, not just a rock. I love you all so much... The church is true! Please find out for yourselves. Read the Book of Mormon, pray and know! It works!
I he huafa o sisu kalaisi
Your son and brother,
Elder Swan 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Teaching the member's 9/14/2014

Teaching school kids the Gospel
Fam bam,

How's it going?

So this week was okay at best. My birthday was alright last week . We had a big feed for all the missionaries with birthdays! It was pretty cool! Afterwards we walked to a family's house in our ward to just talk and hang out for a bit. Well, they surprised me with lu, moa, supo, ufi and all that good stuff and also cake and ice cream! What an awesome way to end a birthday with a family that is so loving and thoughtful!

Well, This week we didn't get much done in 2 of 3 of our areas as we mainly focused on Tu'anekivale. We got a referral from a member and went to visit him. We just answered a few of his questions and taught a few things and testified then set up an appointment to go back. Well we went over there after church yesterday and taught him the Plan of Salvation. He understood it very well and was super grateful that we were able to better help him understand the scriptures. At the end of the lesson we invited him to be baptized. he said yes. How happy were we to hear that simple two letter word "Io"? We set a date for next Saturday but after thinking about it we think he can be ready by this Saturday so we will ask him what he thinks tonight! After the lesson I thought back to the prayer I had said before we left the house on Friday. I asked the Lord to guide us to someone who is ready to hear the gospel and accept it. It was that day when we first met Taki and now, he is preparing to be baptized. I have received a stronger testimony that God does answer prayers and listens to our many cries. We will be teaching Taki again tonight. 

Also we have had a hard time with the members here. As I said they always fight and argue and there is a lot of contention. Well I was reading in 4th Nephi and I read verse 15. (You can go read it if you want.) I thought for a second and realized that we need to simply teach the members. As they develop a stronger love for Christ they will better live the Gospel and there won't be contentions among them. So that is our new goal. Teach the members and pray they strengthen their relationship with God and each other.

Well, that's about it for this week. Thank you for the e mails. Me and my comp are doing well together. He teaches me a lot. This area is a lot bigger than Houma, and I forgot the other questions you asked.... sorry

Ofa atu,
Elder Swan
My District ~ Me and the Tongans

My Birthday Dinner

Birthday Cake

 Birthday Feast  :)
The yellow stuff is manioke or tapioka. It's like the Tongan fries...
Nothing even close to a fry... But I love them.

Coconuts ~ Our food and drink

Elder Pahulu

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Birthday :) 9/8/2014

Happy Birthday to ME!
Family, Happy days in Tonga!
Well, Thanks for all the Birthday wishes! I miss you all like crazy especially today!
I've had a good day so far! Nothing much has happened! We have a district P-day right now to Celebrate a few birthdays this month so that's fun! We have a big feed in the umu so that will be good! Got a puaka (Pig) and a bunch of other stuff! It should be good!
I'm so happy you're finally getting to meet Riddle! You should have him try and get Haleki and Fiefia! But Take pics and let me know how it goes!
The work is slowly progressing! We have 2 investigators and I'm super happy about that! The only problem with them is their parents... We went through the area book again in more depth and prayed and found a few names we want to try for again! Most of them have accepted the baptism commitment, but their parents stop them! So we will keep working and pray that the Lord will soften their hearts as we have seen him do millions of times. There are so many stories in the Book of Mormon that teach us that the Lord softens Hearts! It just takes a lot of faith! I know that He will guide us in our efforts. I have been a lot better this week as I have tried making more friends and joking around with them! So it's helped! Other than that the work is the same!
That's about it! Mom, Fam, I love you guys! Thanks so much for the wishes! You guys are awesome!  
Elder Swan

Throw back to the MTC one year ago~
Lunch with Elder Riddle

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Governor's talk 8/31/2014

This week wasn't the greatest! We stayed with our zone leaders for 3 days and didn't get much done! Again the disobedience here is getting to me! I know I can't control others actions, but I can control mine and be the best example I can be to them!! It's definitely a test of patience for me! But I'm becoming a very patient person I would say... haha believe it or not! This week was also Stake Conference! The talks were all amazing! One of the Speakers was the Governor of Vava'u. He is family with the King and Prince and the Royal Family. He's been talking to the Prince and his family and the Prince of Tonga has agreed to baptism!!!! How incredible is that!!! The work is totally moving forward and when He does get baptized I can't even imagine the increase in work we will have! He was technically supposed to be baptized 2 weeks ago but the king stopped it! Right now they are threatening to take away all his things (as in making him non-prince...) But he is willing to give it all up! But they are holding off on the baptism until the King gives the okay! The Governor said in his talk "In 20 years the entire Royal Family will be members of the church! The Prince is just a start!" How powerful is that! So if this happens soon then wow! Oh and also at the conference I was asked to translate all the talks for the Senior Couples.... Holy cow was that tough! Tongan is super hard to translate directly into English! It's all mixed up and hard to put it into a sentence that  makes sense in English! But I did my best and they seemed to understand and were grateful for my help! I definitely had some help from my best friend above!

These are some pics of this week! We hiked the tallest mountain in Vava'u... It took 5 min! Hahahahaha! They had stairs to walk up! But it was tiring! Also this is the story of Mo'unga Talau "Mount Talau!" And why it is flat!

My hand is great here's a pic!

The area is a lot bigger than the last! The work is just slow and hard to get going right now! In all honestly I've been either depressed or just not happy in this area! My best friend in this area are my books for sure! Every time I see my Family from Houma or Mangia they make me soooo happy it's unreal! I would love to go and work there again! There is a different spirit about the people in those small villages! It literally is my second home! I have never felt the love they gave me from anyone else! If you guys come here, that is for sure a place I'll be taking you! I know I gotta give this area time! I hated Houma at first too but now it's my home, my family, my people! My hearts there! Haha! I'm hoping it's the same with this area!!!
I love you all and miss you all! Remember my challenge for you all to finish the B.O.M by Christmas! Don't worry about me! I'm FINE!
Elder Swan