I'm sorry I cried during our Skype call 5-9-2016

12:58 PM

Hello Everybody!

How fun was this week? I got to call you at the airport and yesterday for Mother's Day! It was so nice to talk to everyone and see everyone! And it was super fun seeing Grandma and Grandpa and Kathy at the airport! It was so good! The bishop couldn't stop laughing yesterday. He said your family sounds like so much fun I could hear them all screaming the second they saw you! It really was so good to see all of you and to see Jasper!! I've missed you more than you know! Everything reminds me of you! Even Wal Mart! Who knew we had so many memories! I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day mom! It sounds like the family made you a yummy breakfast and dinner! I wish I could've been there today, but I'm glad I got to be there for a part of your day!

I hope you're ready for a long email because a lot happened this week!! I said goodbye to everyone at the MTC and it made me super sad. It made me super sad just to say goodbye to that place. The MTC was the most amazing experience I've had in my life so far. The Spirit was amazing and the happiness I felt there was incredible. I could've served my whole mission in the MTC, not really... but it was super amazing! I woke up at 2:45 Monday morning, got ready, and walked to the travel office. I met up with my other fellow Kentuckians there. We took a bus to the Front Runner, got on the train and then took tracks to the airport. Right when we got to the airport I saw grandma and grandpa and they gave me their phone to talk to all of you because my phone card wasn't working. While I was talking to you that's when I saw Kathy! So it was super fun to talk to and see everyone. After I hung up the phone I talked to grandma and grandpa for a minute and then I had to get on the plane. We first flew to Georgia and it was like a 4 hour flight. I slept the whole way and I guess I sleep with my mouth wide open so that's embarrassing. And then once we got to Georgia we got right onto our next plane to Kentucky. There was a bunch of turbulence but it was such a short flight so it was fine. We got off the plane and entered into good ole Louisville! There's horse pictures everywhere around the airport. It's great. We got a group picture and met the Mission president and his wife and his APs. They are all awesome and so kind. We went to the Mission home and had dinner, went over some information, and had a testimony meeting. It was really good. Also, we had interviews with the Mission President and he is such an amazing guy! I'm lucky! I was the only missionary that arrived today that he knew where I was going and who my companion was going to be. I was the only Spanish missionary who showed up so it was pretty easy to pick for me because I was the only one who needed a Spanish Trainer.

So the next day we got ready and headed over to a church to meet our trainers and get more instruction. My Trainer is Hermana Crowther. She's very nice and she's from Washington. And our Area is the Paris Area. It is beautiful, everyone told me I got the promised land for my first area. And I really feel that way. I've never seen so much green in my whole entire life. They don't even need sprinklers here!! But you just look out the window while you're driving and there's green hills that go on for forever and there's horses everywhere. And there's these beautiful huge houses and then they have tons of land, it really is just so beautiful!! We got to our house and it's the cutest little house in the world! And it's yellow... my favorite color! Someone must've told them! ;) It's really such a cute house and we're so lucky we probably have the nicest living arrangements in the whole mission. The only problem is it smells like weed all the time. We have people who live in our basement and it comes up through the vents... it's pretty bad! But don't worry we bought loads of febreze at walmart today!

Our area was "white washed" well "pink washed" because were hermanas. But that just means that the two hermanas serving here both left and they brought two knew hermanas in. So when we got to the house there were no notes from the other sisters and we couldn't get our area book until the next day. So it was super difficult. We just made a few phone calls to people in the ward to try to figure it all out and we didn't find much out. But the good thing is Hermana Crowther was in this area a year ago so she knows the ward members and where everything is, she just doesn't know who the investigators are because a lot changes in a year. So we drove around to some ward members and visited them. That night we talked to the Ward Mission Leader who is Brother Harney, he is awesome! And his family is amazing too! When we stopped by the Elders were there too, so we got to meet all of them.

Wednesday, we spent a lot of time at the library setting up my iPad and downloading the area book. We finally got it and then we went back to our house and Sister Elizabeth came over. She is a member in our ward (Oh yeah were in an English Ward) and she comes with the missionaries all the time. She is amazing, I love her! She updated us on a ton of people and told us what was going on in the area because the area book didn't have the best records so she was a ton of help! After we got caught up we visited the Turner family, they're also in our ward. They're so much fun. Then we went to the church because mutual was going on and we wanted to meet the ward members. We met the Bishop and the rest of the Bishopric. They're super nice. And he didn't ask us to speak on Sunday that night was a success! After the church Elizabeth drove us around town and we just knocked on doors.

Thursday, we had district meeting in Lexington. That's just barely outside of our area, but it was good. The best part is we went to Chick-Fil-A after. It was soooo good! We came back to the house finished our studies and then went to Beverly's. She's another member in the ward. We taught her a lesson about temples and invited her to work for her temple recommend. She's such an amazing person and she has the cutest family. She just needs to give up smoking to get to the temple so we want to help her get there! She's so close too!! After we visited Beverly we drove to Winchester (another city in our area) and met with an investigator Carlos. He was baptized the previous Sunday but is still considered an investigator until he is confirmed. But he is amazing. He told us his story and he is incredible! He changed his life around and you can see how much he has changed his life. He gave up so much to be a member and it's incredible to see the sacrifice he was willing to make. He can't read so we read to him from the Book of Mormon and we call him every day and read to him. He is amazing.

Friday, we studied in the morning. Then we looked in the area book and we had an appointment with Vladimir. We had no idea who he was and there was no information about him except for an address. So we thought we might as well go see who it was. We knocked on the door and we asked for Vladimir and the person who answered had no idea who that was, but then Hermana Crowther was like hey I know you, you're Hiram. Hiram was an investigator when Hermana Crowther was in the area, but when she left he moved and the new Hermanas had lost contact with him and had no idea how to find him! Milagro!! (Miracle) It was incredible that we found him. He told us he still reads his Book of Mormon every day and wants us to come back next Friday. (This was all in Spanish, and yes I understood it! I just can't really respond yet). So that was amazing that we found Hiram he's so ready for baptism too, he just works on Sundays so it's going to be hard to get him to church. After we found Hiram we went to the Relief Society President's house. She's incredible too. Seriously everyone in Kentucky is amazing. She helped us with telling us who was struggling and who is inactive so we have a list of people that we can hopefully help! After her Sister Elizabeth called us and she had a flat tire and the Elders weren't answering so we drove over to her as fast as we could. I grabbed the car manual and started figuring it out. Good thing we have those manuals... and it's a good thing Jeff got a flat tire last year on his car and I was able to learn how to read a manual haha! But really we didn't do much, her dad came and did most of it, we just went to the store and bought her eggs for her because she couldn't. After we went to her parent's house and helped them set things up. They're were having a ward BBQ. Lots of people showed up and it was super yummy!! Then we finally had some Latinos show up and they spoke Spanish!! And I understood them perfectly and I was actually able to speak to them too! Finally they said something I didn't understand so I looked over to Hermana Crowther for help and she translated for me and they were all so surprised. They were llike "What?! We thought you were Hispanic!! We thought you were a Native Speaker. You look Hispanic and you have a really good accent!" That made my entire day! They were so shocked too when I told them I didn't have any bit of Hispanic in me. And I really struggle speaking the language, but at least I know they think I have a good accent haha! That made my day. After the BBQ we decided to go to Wal Mart because it was 8:30 and our "curfew" is at 9. And we have a goal everyday of how many people we're going to talk to and we hadn't reached our goal yet so we thought we would go to Wal Mart. MILAGRO!!! (Miracle). The second we walked in we ran into a man named Cesar and he had his two kids. I guess Hermana Crowther taught them last year and they were about to be baptized but Cesar decided he didn't want his kids baptized and that the missionaries couldn't come by anymore. Right when he walked in he came up to us and told us how happy he was to see us. He told us to come over next Wednesday! Sounds like his heart has been softened! It was pretty incredible. Well right after we talked to him we ran into Miguel. He was baptized two years ago but he hasn't come to church for a while and basically ignored the missionaries because he felt bad for some of his decisions. He was so excited to see us too and he had his little family there! His girlfriend just had a baby and it is the cutest little baby I have ever seen! He gave us his phone number and asked us to come by sometime! He is the happiest person I have ever met, and it was so fun to run into him. Well right after we talked to Miguel we ran into Angel, Cheyeanna, and Shawna. They were three investigators and the missionaries lost contact of them right after Hermana Crowther left and we talked to them and they told us they wanted to feed us and have us come over! Seriously the most amazing trip to Wal Mart I have ever had!! (Oh and the bishop asked us to speak on Sunday tonight... so I guess tonight wasn't that much of a success haha!)

Saturday, we did our studies and then went to a street called Bradford Street. We knocked on some doors for a little while and two people asked us to come back, so that was super good! Then we went to Winchester and right when we got there we saw 5 men sitting outside of an apartment so we got out of our car and asked them if we could teach them a lesson and they said yes! Their names were Miguel, Manuel, Enrique, Dionicio, and Inmer. They are all from Honduras and only spoke Spanish so it was great! I got to use more Spanish!! We taught them the restoration and I could tell Inmer, Manuel, and Enrique weren't having it, but Dionicio and Miguel were very interested. Manuel is actually Carlos's brother, but they don't have a super good relationship. So after we taught them Dionicio asked for a Book of Mormon and him and Miguel gave us their addresses for us to visit and we'll head over there next Thursday! After that we talked to the Alvarez family. They're members in the Winchester ward, they're super awesome and fed us cookies! Which was amazing, I was starving!! They told us about everyone in Winchester and gave us an update so that was super nice! Their daughter, D goes teaching with missionaries all the time so she was very helpful. After we got done talking to them we met Carlos. He was just glowing, he was so ready for his confirmation. We taught him more about the Holy Ghost and he was so ready!

Sunday, we started the day at church and Hermana Crowther and I both spoke! It went okay, we didn't have a ton of time to prepare but it was fine! We went to church and then we drove over to Bishop Scalf's for dinner and to Skype everyone. We normally would go to a Spanish Branch after our ward but we couldn't today because we got to talk our mothers! It was so much fun! But anyway they fed us spaghetti which was so yummy and they had dessert for us too. They're so nice. Well after we drove back to town and stopped by Heriberto's. He was baptized but he hasn't come to church and he's been avoiding the missionaries. We knocked on his door and he came out and told us we could come back and visit! So that was amazing. After that we found another less active member and talked to him for a minute. So then we decided to drive to a street and just talk to people. We got out of the car and talked to everyone. There were so many people because everyone was with their families and the weather was nice. Some people were super nice, and some people were not so nice. Some people accepted a Book of Mormon. But the highlight of the night was this... We were about to leave but I saw someone at the bottom of the hill and I told Hermana Crowther that I felt like we should talk to him. So we did, his name is Gio. He's still in high school, but we got talking to him and asked him if he would be interested in hearing our message and he said yes and asked if he could hear it right then. So of course! We taught him the restoration and the spirit was so strong. We asked him to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it and he accepted. Then we asked him if he would prepare himself to be baptized on June 11th and he accepted!! He is so amazing and so sincere! We asked him to say the closing prayer and he made me cry. He said, "God, thank you for sending me someone to remind me that you're still there and that somebody loves me and cares about me." Seriously the most amazing prayer. We'll meet with him again on Wednesday, so I hope he keeps progressing because he's incredible.

I have learned so much in this week. I learned that the southern accent is strong in Kentucky, I've learned that Nyquis or whatever won the Kentucky derby, and I've learned so much more about God and his Gospel. It's crazy how aware he is and much he loves each of his children. He really wants them all to know they are loved and to know the truth. I also feel like I've taken a little baby step in Christ's shoes this week. It's crazy at home I could go up and talk to anybody and they would be kind, but now that I have Christ's name on my chest I have people who will yell at me and call me a crazy Mormon, or tell me I'm stupid, or pretend they don't even see me. It breaks my heart that people treat Christ like that. He was the most perfect and loving person and people were horrible to Him, but He still died for them. He is the most incredible example of love. And I'm so grateful that I can take a short time out of my life to serve Him.  

I love you all so much, and I'm sorry I cried during out Skype call. I am super homesick, but I'm okay. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Thanks for all of your support and thank you for being the best family I could've ever asked for! I'll be able to see your faces again in a short 7 months and hopefully by then I'll have my emotions under control haha! I hope you all have a very good week, I love you!

Hermana Swapp

(From the Louisville Missionary Moms Page)

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