Monday, January 5, 2015

Life being home...... and in pants

Hello again every one,

I know it's kind of been a while! So I was not going to post anything further on this blog, mainly because I am not a sister missionary any more. BUT as I was sitting in class today the thought came to me blog again. What in the world?? What do I have to say that would be anything of interest to anyone out there in the world?? Well... still not exactly sure but hopefully in time it will become clear. However there is something that I would love to share with you all. Hopefully this will help someone somewhere.

As you all know, I recently returned from serving a full-time mission. I got back about 9 weeks ago and holy moly it has been a roller coaster! With the crazy amount of sisters returning from their missions right now (believe me, they are taking over the BYU's haha) I am sure that many are facing some of the similar challenges that I have/ am currently facing. This is kinda crazy and I know everyone goes through the adjustment differently but here is my story and how I am semi- returning back to normality (well I was never normal but you know...)

Getting off the plane was crazy. It didn't even feel like real life! There was my whole family just waiting to give me a hug. My brother Bradley wasn't there because he is still on his mission but we had a new addition, my cute nephew Eli! I tried so hard to not cry when I saw my family..... yeah you try looking at a cute little baby holding a sign that says "I have been waiting my whole life to meet you" and not shedding a tear! Safe to say I was pretty emotional. We were such a scene at the air port that this poor innocent friend waiting for her friend to get of his plane was crying as she watched us. When her friend walked up to her he was pretty confused at her tears. 

It didn't feel real! Of course our first stop was In-N-Out on the way home from the airport (they definitely don't have those back East) and I was still trying to talk to random strangers in the parking lot. My family was laughing hysterically at me and my nerdy-ness. Well everything was fine and dandy until that night when I met with my stake president (local church leader) to be released from my duty as a full-time missionary. The second he asked me how my mission was I again started to just cry uncontrollably. How could I even sum up how amazing the last 18 months of my life had been or how much they had changed my life or how much I love the people out there? There is no way to sum something like that up people... so you just cry. Then when you are released of your duty you have to take off your name tag. Ok you may be wondering if I cried yet again.... the answer is duh. That was the tag I got to wear to let people know that I was an official representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. That was the tag I wore for the best 18 months of my life so far!

Well safe to say that finishing a mission is was harder than starting a mission. When you get home you are supposed to go back to real life as we all know it. Don't get me wrong now..... being with my family and wearing pants was prettyyyyy nice. But what was I supposed to do now? I spent every waking minute either preparing to teach and serve or teaching and serving. Well the next weeks held a lot of trial and emotions that I had never anticipated. I will save you the whole sob story but safe to say I had a pretty hard time. Until......

One Sunday as I was sitting with my family waiting for church to start, I was looking around at my awesome family and other awesome families. It hit me like a ton of big huge bricks. Heavenly Father has an awesome plan for me and serving a mission was amazing but it was just a part of that plan. Serving a mission for the Lord has taught me so many things that I will use for the rest of my life! I have met people that I will be friends with forever. I just know that even though my purpose in life has changed from helping every one come closer to Christ every minute of every day, I still have a big purpose here. We all do! The best part is, I can still help others to come closer to their Savior, just in a different way than I did as a missionary. Its great! I still have the every day struggles but it gets easier all the time when I remember who is really in charge here.

Now don't feel left out.... this is just my story of adjusting back from a mission, but we all are going through adjustments all the time. That is a huge part of life. Every one has a different plan, whether you are adjusting to married life, divorced life, life without a loved one, college, job, baby, etc. I hope we all can remember that God has a plan and if we hold on and do what is right, everything is going to be A.O.K!!! I know that it will! 

Remember to look for the humor and the positive in every day. People know my loud obnoxious laugh from anywhere, mostly because I never stop laughing. I promise there is something to laugh about in every hour. Big or small.


Brook..... even though sometimes I still introduce myself as Sister Swisher.... awkward ...

P.S. here are some pictures to prove that life is still fun after the mission!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Last mission blog letter!!

Hey everyone!!! 

what a wonderful week! literally the best week of my entire mission. every goal we set this week, we prayed about and achieved! it was amazing. we saw sooo many miracles and found a lot of new solid people to teach! I could not be happier with the week that my dear companion and I just had! for reals being a missionary is the best thing on the planet. I love it!

I sort of feel exactly how I did when I was about to leave the MTC for the mission field. I was nervous and didn't know what to expect. I knew a lot of new adventures were right before me but I had no idea how hard or how amazing they would be. I had no idea how much my life would change from the people I was about to meet or the companions I would work with or the experiences I would go through. I had no idea the amount of food that I could eat at members homes. I had no idea how fun walking in the pouring rain in a skirt would be. I didn't know that I could spend 18 months loving people unconditionally and wanting what is best for them even though I had just met them.

Just like leaving the MTC I am once again nervous and don't quite know what to expect from the future. BUT unlike the MTC I KNOW that with God I can do anything! If I have learned anything from the past 18 months its that I can do hard things. It just takes a lot of prayer and a lot of patience. I know that no matter where life takes me I will ALWAYS have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I will always have my family! I am so nervous but being a sister missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been the most spectacular time of my life. The people I have come to love like family, the missionaries I have been able to work with, an amazing mission president and his wife, and all of the hard and great times that come along with being a missionary have made me who I am today! I am so grateful! 

I want to leave you all with my testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ! I know He lives! I know He died for all of us and loves us more than we know. His church has been brought back to the earth through a prophet named Joseph Smith. I know we can be together with our families forever! This knowledge had made me the happiest person I can be! I know that God answers our prayers. If you feel like He isn't listening, keep praying and trust me that He is listening to you! I love you all!
If you have any questions for me, you can ask me! I love questions! MAKE GOOD CHOICES!

See you on the flip side,

Sister Swisher

Monday, October 13, 2014

10 days......

hey every one!
hilarious week. seriously i have the funniest companion ever. i havent laughed so hard in a long time. she is the! so we have just been working our bums off this week! literally last night i was sooo hyper and stoked to work that i was literally running from appt to appt to be able to see as many people as possible. its awesome! we are going to make this week the best stinking week of our whole missions :) im ready to hit it hard!
ok funny street contact we had this week: this man yells across the street to us....
man: are you jehovah's witnesses???
us: no we are from the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.
man: oh so jehovah witnesses?
us: no sir. we are mormons.
man: (as he is walking away from us) oh well by the way i am "George"!
us: ok bye George!
man: turns around and says what the heck i didn't say i was George i said i was Jewish! and he books it away from us
us: whoops awkward.....
another street contact experience:
i was talking to this woman while my comp was riding a rip stick ( a skate board that you have to wiggle back and forth) with the woman's daughter.
as i was inviting the woman to church i look over at my dear companion and she is flying off the rip stick.... lands on her butt....her legs fly in the air.... her skirt flies up.... me and the woman start cracking up! my poor companion was hurting pretty badly.... i almost peed my skirt!
ok another story from our missionary work! we walk up to this door looking for a less active woman. the neighbors are sitting on the porch so naturally we talk to them. they said i am just going to warn you now that guy you are about to knock on his door is not interested in anything you are selling. we told him we weren't selling anything. then the man whose porch we were on came out and we told him we are missionaries and before i could tell him who we were looking for he slammed the door in our faces. it was really surprising. then the guy on the porch next door said told ya! then we said ok thanks sir what was your name? and he yelled not interested! and sis Barrett said sir we aren't selling anything whats your name? he told us and she said thanks that's all we needed to know. then we left. we were really saddened by this experience. as missionaries we are used to rejection but it really got to us that day. so we decided to go to taco bell. because that is what you do when you are sad. and this lady at taco bell approaches us (that never happens) and wanted to learn more!!!
bottom line. miracles come when you feel like you are about to give up. no matter what keep trying and the Lord will show you miracles and show you His love for you. its amazing to be a missionary! life is good! i cant believe how fast time has flown by! well i love you all! MAKE GOOD CHOICES!!!
Sister Swisher

Monday, October 6, 2014

Miracles never cease!

hey every one!
i surely hope you all had a great conference weekend! it was such a good general conference. i always get so sad when it all ends. well on saturday morning we got to the church to watch the first session and there was no projector set up. so we call the tech guy in the ward and he rushes over to set it up. he got it all set up about 10 minutes in to conference. when it was all set up it was the asl channel. that was the only channel we were getting in the church. so it was quite interesting to watch the people sign all the talks and the songs. one of the elders was copying them and trying to learn. hahah dork. it was really trippy when the one speaker was speaking cantonese, the guy on the screen was signing and the big booming english over voice. safe to say i didnt take very good notes during that talk. it was a one of a kind conference experience.
the next session on saturday all 3 sets of misisonaries were invited over to this awesome members home. we were all chowing down on candy when the one speaker called us all out for taking control of our physical well being. we were convinced he could see us through the TV so we all started stuffing our candy wrappers behind us. we all looked at each other like oh my gosh we are fat! ahahha it was sooo funny.
the first session on sunday we went over to the bishops house to watch. they had soooo many m&m's it was crazy. you think my comp and i would have learned from the previous session. but at some point during the session my comp and i look at eacht other and realize we both have huge bowls of m&m's by us and none of the bishops family is eating anything. safe to say... we gave each other a look.... set the bowls in the middle and shook our heads in shame. haha
for the next session we all headed to the church. we had a big lunch with every one. it was sooo fun. the fun part was one of the stands that hold the tables was empty in the middle of the gym and it had wheels. so naturally my comp and i started giving all of the kids rides on it. then we got bishops wife to join in. it was pretty fun. probably not the safest but definitely the funnest. then we watchted the last session and i loved it. i love general conference and the spirit you feel as you watch it. the only thing i would change is how much food i ate this weekend! hahaha
we had a wonderful week and found a cute little family to teach. miracles never cease in the field. the Lord is truly hastening His work people! you gotta get on board or you might get left behind! i love you all! have a wonderful week :) MAKE GOOD CHOICES!
Sister Swisher

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hugging is against the Rules!!

hey everyone!
the weeks are going by faster and faster! this week we had a lot of miracles. we had leadership meeting and an exchange which always makes for a busy fast week! this week we have another exchange and general conference is this weekend! i am sooo excited i could pee my skirt! whoop whoop!
so we had a really good lesson with our investigator that is on date for baptism. she is really uncomfortbale with praying in front of us so we showed her this page in the pamphlet that has a little outline of how to pray. so we told her she could follow the model. it gives instructions on how to pray. well we all folded our arms and she began to pray... by saying "address your heavenly father.. expresss things you are greatful for... " she read the entire part of the pamphlet that teaches you how to pray. sis barrett and i opened one eye during their to look at each other and smile. after the prayer she looks up and says that was great i feel a lot better! we told her it was awesome then explained that she doesnt need to read that word for word but can come up with things from her heart. she said she will next time. haha it was so awesome! i lover her! her little son just loves primary.
on saturday we were in baltimore helping a woman move then we went to this less actives house that we have been trying to get a hold of the wholetime i have been here. she was recently baptized and hasnt been to church in a while so we have been really worried about her. so we were going to try by her house for the millionth time. and as we drove by guess whose head was hanging out the window of her row house??? the less active! we finally got to talk to her! it was a huge miracle! she opened up about not feeling worthy to come to church and we were ableto comfort her and she is willing and ready to come back! :) while we were talking to her on her steps... btw we were on n curley street in baltimore... the sketchiest street in the city.... this big man walks out of his house a few doors down from us and starts walking towards us. he doesnt say a word but opens up his arms really wide and walks towards me to hug me... i got scared and backed up but the wall stopped me and before i could say anything this big man was hugging me! then the less active was like " you cant be hugging them sisters like that! thats against the rules!!! " haha then he got embarassed and walked away without saying a word. i was like " who was that man that just hugged me?" the less active told me it was her neighbor and he asked her earlier if he was allowed to hug the church girls and she said no. haha it turned out to be really funny but not going to lie... in the moment i was quite scared!
well it was an amazing week that ended with womens conference on saturday night and a few less active ladies came to the dinner we had before the broadcast! it was amazing! i love serving here and i love being a missionary! MAKE GOOD CHOICES and have  a great week!

Love Sister Swisher

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sleep over!

hey every one!
so this week was seriously amazing! we had a lot of fun and did a lot of work! why is being a missionary soooo great?? ok sometimes it is really hard but most of the time is outta this world amazing. :)
so this week we taught a lot of our investigators and invited some new ones to be baptized and they accepted! they are on fire and loving it! i feel like we are running so fast all the time to get to everything we need to get done!
well tuesday night all of us sisters from the baltimore zone got to sleep over at pres and sis richards house! it was sooo much fun to have a sleepover with all of our sisters :) we woke up and had breakfast with pres and sis richards then left for the sisters conference in harpers ferry west virginia! we all went on the famous maryland heights hike! it was the bomb! we all got to the top and sis richards gave a really good spiritual thought and then we hiked back down and had lunch and then all of us sister training leaders gave some more spiritual thoughts. it was such a fun and amazing day! i love all the sisters in our misison. seriously we have amazing sisters that amaze me every day.
after that we went to dinner with this less-active woman and her husband who is not a member and he agreed to have us start teaching him! whoop whoop! they are soo cool! they take us out to eat once a week:) well we also found another investigator this week and her and her little son came to church yesterday! they loved it!
ok so last night Pres jason wright came to our ward to give a fireside! it was sooo good to see the wright family again! well this woman named michelle showed up to the fireside and she isnt a member but she would like to learn more so we are going to start teaching her this week! how cool is that??? seriously miracle after miracle this week! we are starting up exchanges for the transfer so we will be busy for the next four weeks going on exchanges and all that good stuff. i love life and i love my companion! i cant believe how fast everything is going... well i hope you are all having an amazing week! love ya! MAKE GOOD CHOICES!
Sister Swisher AKA swishy (this cute little kid started calling me that and now its catching on to the whole ward haha)


Monday, September 15, 2014

Wow! Only 5 weeks to go!

hey every one!
ok so another crazy weeks of transfers! it was a lot of fun to see every one at transfer meeting! i love being able to catch up with every one. this is going to be the best transfer ever! my new companion is sis barrett and she is 6 feet tall! she makes me feel just a tad short haha we are already having sooo much fun together and are getting a lot of work done.
i am in this awesome phase that i just want to work through the night and not even sleep so i can get even more work done! too bad sleep is necessary to survive.... i dont even have enough time in the day to do everything i want to get done here in the chesapeake ward! well i am enjoying getting to know the ward members better and talking with every one we see on the streets!
so this week we were walking around this neighborhood talking to every one! and we got a lot of appointments to come back and teach them! miracles were happening left and right. then we were on a porch talking to this family when all of a sudden a few doors down our investigator that we have not been able to get a hold of walks onto her porch to get her mail. we walk over to her and she says that she knew she didnt have any mail but something told her to go out and check the mail. it was so she could run into us! any ways we were able to sit down with her and she let us know that the reason she stopped talking to us is because she felt guilty due to the fact that she started smoking again. and we had a good talk about it all and she told us she needs us and wants to come back to church and be baptized! whoa! holy miracles on 34th street! can i get a whoop whoop??
this was such a great week! i cant believe how fast each day is going by. its freaky. but i am taking advantage of every second i have here! i want to help out with this work as much as i possibly can! i cant believe how great life is as a missionary! well every one, have a great week and MAKE GOOD CHOICES! love ya'll!
Sister Swisher