I'm Coming Home 9-18-2017

4:41 PM

¡Hola todos!

I don't think I have the words to write this email. I cannot believe
this is my last one as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints. I'm about to finish the greatest 18 months of and
for my life and as I reflect on my mission I have nothing but
gratitude to my Heavenly Father and Savior. In 18 months my life was
changed forever and forever and forever.

This last Conference Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk and he said,
"'Come as you are,' a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds,
'Don’t plan to stay as you are.' We smile and remember that God is
determined to make of us more than we thought we could be." I can't
help but laugh as I think about the person I was before my mission. I
thought I was pretty great with an even greater plan for myself. How
grateful I am that God didn't allow me to stay as I am.

I remember before my mission Dad talked with me and he told me how
hard the mission was going to be. He told me just to give it 6 months.
I think everybody prepped me for how hard a mission would be but I
always imagined it would be physically hard (which it is). But what I
didn't prep for was how hard the mission would be mentally and
emotionally.

In the talk "Foundations of Faith" Elder Cook says, "Personal
foundations, like many worthwhile pursuits, are usually built
slowly—one layer, one experience, one challenge, one setback, and one
success at a time." My mission is the greatest foundation my Heavenly
Father could have ever given me and it definitely came with layers,
experiences, challenges, setbacks, but many successes.

It all started in March 2016 at the greatest place on earth - the
Provo MTC. I'm pretty sure I explained it as church Disneyland in my
very first email I ever sent. I still see it as that. Oh how I wish I
could go back and drink all the blue Powerade in the world and be
surrounded by a million missionaries all the time. That's where my
personal foundation started. I will never be able to thank Heavenly
Father enough for allowing me to learn Spanish and the gospel. I came
to know my Savior there in a way I had never known Him before. The
things I learned in the MTC will bless me for the rest of my life. But
also there is where I was hit with my first challenge on the mission.
About three weeks in was when I had my first experience with anxiety
and I didn't think I could make it 6 months. But it was the
experience/challenge that my Heavenly Father thought would be perfect
for me, and let me tell you He was right.

I remember all of the challenges or set backs from my mission and all
the times I didn't think I could make it those 6 months. I remember
the first week Fidencio didn't come to church, and when I pounded on
his door for like 30 minutes. I remember when we were told that Mario
couldn't get baptized. I remember Arcadia and feeling like I was going
to get shot every two seconds. I remember Shelbyville and feeling like
my tongue was tied and I could never speak Spanish, I remember when
Kristy cancelled her baptism the week of, and I remember wondering if
Sister Goodspeed was going to make it.

I remember all of these things that broke my heart but I also remember
watching the Atonement change it all. I remember watching Fidencio
completely change and have the desire to come to church. I saw him
make changes in his life that brought him and his family closer to the
Savior. I'll never be able to explain the way I felt the night of his
baptism. I remember watching the bishop's heart change and giving
Mario permission to get baptized. I remember feeling peace and safety
with every prayer that was said in Arcadia. I watched the Lord bless
me with the gift of tongues as I noticed people being able to
understand my broken Spanish. And I remember Sister Goodspeed asking
for blessings and having faith in Christ that she would heal, and it
turning out to be God's will.

The thing I remember most from my mission is my Savior. I know He is
the Christ. I saw the power of the Atonement effect every person's
life on my mission, especially my own. I felt the power of my Savior
as He carried me through my anxiety, through my trials, and through my
faults. I watched Him change my heart and my desires. He helped me
stay 6 more months every time I didn't think I could. He truly took me
as I was and made me more than I thought I could be. I felt His
presence with me every day and I know this is His work and that He is
here helping us in every step.

I cannot begin to explain the miracles I have witnessed on my mission.
God has not ceased to be a God of miracles. He is so aware and I am so
grateful that He gave us His Son to help us with what we lack. He is
aware and He knows and loves us. I felt so many impressions during
prayers and fasts that were so clear on how to help His children. It
truly is His work and His glory to bring to pass the immortality and
eternal life of man. And how lucky I feel to be able to assist Him
with that.

Heavenly Father truly gave me a foundation that will bless me for the
rest of my life. He knew perfectly which layers, experiences,
challenges, setbacks, and successes I needed. I can't help but look
back on my mission with all of the happiness, and gratitude in the
world.

Now I'm at the end of my mission and I am absolutely terrified to
leave this mission life my Heavenly Father gave me. I want nothing
more than 6 more months. But I understand that God is a God of
progression and He needs me to go home to progress. This week I said a
prayer to Heavenly Father and I told Him how afraid I was to go home
and very quickly I thought I could hear Him say, "McKenna, you were
afraid to leave me too when it was time to come to earth. But this is
part of the plan and you can't plan to stay as you are."

So I'm beginning this next chapter with faith. I know that when I go
home Heavenly Father will bless me with more layers, experiences,
challenges, setbacks, and successes that will help me for the rest of
my life as well.

I love you all so very much, thank you for all of the love, support,
and prayers for the past 18 months. I can't wait to see you in two
days. Be happy, because life is too short to be anything else.

Con amor,
Hermana Swapp

PS: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine
own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall
direct thy paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6



 I got to see Mama Rhonda one last time!!



 One last squad pic.

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