Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thank you- November 9, 2014

Thank you for this letter! I truly feel like coming home is what I need to do to. When I had my interview with President Henrie I just explained how I felt and he just randomly said Sister Swenson I think you need to go home and in that moment a feeling of overwhelming peace came over me that I have never felt before all day I felt so great and I have not felt that great until the day before I came out on my mission! I truly believe that I have other things to do at home and it will be really hard for me to leave I have been crying non stop for a day! I love these people so much and I love the missionaries so so much! I really don't want to leave I wish I could just stick it out but I guess I should probably follow the counsel President Henrie gave me haha :) I'm so excited to see you and be able to be home for the holidays oh yeah and to feel like a NORMAL person again! I'm proud of myself for the things I have done here and for all the amazing experiences I have had that have shaped my life and made me into a better person! President Henrie told me that sometimes missions are 4 months, 6 months or 18 months but the lord is proud of you valiant work and he knows that you learned what you needed to! And he said that I am always welcome to come back when I feel better :) haha so ill have that as a goal but who knows what way life will take me :) I'm excited to see you again and I think ill be home Wednesday! I love you so so much and thank you for being so supportive! I was really scared but this just confirmed to me that I am making the right choice! I love you so much and I'm so excited to see Baby James and Kynlee Mae!! :) And oh I will I will, sister Hoffman is a true angel that was sent from heaven to help me over these last 4 months!!! We will be friends forever!!! She is truly the greatest person ever!!! :) I love you and ill see you Wednesday! I think President Henries will be calling you soon! I think I might be calling you as well, will see anyways have a wonderful day love you!!

We Love You- November 8, 2015

Dear Sophie

We received the phone call from President Quesenberry explaining that you are coming home.  We wished your mission would have worked out the way you planned but life is like that most of the time. We know you gave it your all! We know you tried everything you possibly could and we did too. We fasted and prayed almost every week, put your name on the prayer rolls of the temple and tried all the things our minds could think of to help you and prayed that if it was the Lords will that you could serve the full 18 months.  We put it in His hands and know there must be a reason for all that you've had to go through. Sometimes it doesn't seem fair that things don't work out like we want but the Lord has a plan for each of us.
You have served and honorable mission and given it all your heart, might, mind, and strength. He can't ask for more than that and neither can we. We are so very proud of you and how you stuck it out for almost 5 months with many trials. We know you have learned many good things and habits that will help you in your life and that your testimony has grown so much. We know that you touched many lives while you served your mission. We have all been blessed by your service to God and His children.

We love you so very much and look forward with great anticipation to your return and getting you feeling better. We hope you will never feel like you have failed because you couldn't serve the whole time. We know this will be hard for you to leave but this is the Lords will. I truly believe it. We can't worry about what others may think. You are being released because of a real illness just as if some one had cancer or a broken leg and we are anxious to get you feeling normal again. We have been so worried about you and it is a relief to know we can help you now at home.

The Lord knows your heart and is mindful of all your trials. He knew how much courage and faith you showed by being willing to serve. You had 2 baptisms in your short time and that's more than many who stay out the full time. You are being released with an honorable release and we are thrilled as your parents for your obedience and perseverance. We will be waiting with open arms of love for you. Kynlee said the other day, I miss my Aunt Sophie!!!! We all have! We hope that you can move forward and continue in life with all your hopes and dreams. The holidays are here and we will have you back with us all together again. Please give Sister Hoffman our love and all the others who have been so kind and helpful. 

All my love, Mommy 
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo I can't wait to give you a real hug!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Comin' Home

Well the one thing i know with a-surety is that heavenly father knows his children perfectly and he knows exactly what they need! :) This week i have had some pretty big decisions i have had to make and i know that heavenly father was right by my side through it all! as all of you probably all know i have been struggling everyday with depression and anxiety something i have never experienced until my mission! on friday i had an interview with President Henrie and he told me he has been praying for me each day and feels like i need to go home! when he said that i have never felt so much peace in my life! i know that this is what heavenly father needs me to do, so i will do it! I don't want to leave this place one bit but i have to trust that heavenly fathers plan for me is what will be best! This is probably the hardest thing i have ever done but i know i can do all things through christ and his atonement! President henrie told me that sometimes the missions heavenly father has planned for us are shorter than we've anticipated they can last 4 months or 6 months or 18 months! I know i gave it my best each and everyday and tried everything to stay out but sometimes thats just not what the lord has planned for us! This mission has changed my life completely and i am so so grateful for the things i have been able to experience and go through! I am truly a changed person because of it! :) These people have changed my lives and i will never forget them! I love the gospel of jesus christ so so much and i know it is absolutely true without a doubt! that is something i have learned on my mission is that this church is truly the church christ has set up on the earth! Heavenly Father is in our everyday lives and loves us so so so much! love you all so much! and I'm excited/ really nervous and scared for this new journey ahead of me! 

a really cool miracle that happened this week was that me and sister hoffman had 10 extra minutes so we wanted to make the most of them and so we prayed and asked heavenly father that we wanted to find someone we could teach and so we felt inspired to knock on this certain house and they welcomed us in and we taught the restoration! this man had a broken leg and so he has plenty of time to read the Book of Mormon! We said a prayer after and he said he felt so good and happy inside! we get to teach him on tuesday so i am real excited!!! :) Heavenly Father answers prayers!!! 

Well again i am so grateful for this time i was able to be a missionary and to experience many different things that have shaped my life and helped me become a better person! "I have fought a good fight i have finished my course, i have kept the faith." i did my absolute best and I'm so grateful for all your prayers! i love you all so so much! :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Well i hope you all had a happy Halloween! :) 
This week not a lot happened...
On monday we carved pumpkins with our zone which was really fun! 
Then on tuesday we had a lesson with one of our investigators named luke! we went over to his house and his friend answered the door and was like awe sorry luke isn't here right now, and so we were all disappointed and sad, but then out of the corner of my eye i saw him running down the side walk with his violin waving us down to stop haha He is great and has so many great questions! :) hopefully we will get to teach him this up coming week, he's really busy with school and stuff so its hard to teach him! 
Wednesday we had service and i just scooped up a bunch of horse poop the whole time so I'm pretty much pro now :) haha 
On Halloween we knocked doors which was interesting.. people didn't know if we were trick or treaters or really missionaries haha we got candy though so that was fun and we also got to help some people put up their halloween decorations :) After we got to have a dinner with our zone and watch the Joseph smith movie! :) It was great! 
This week i read such a wonderful talk/ letter called "The ricciardi letter" by danny humphreys you all should read it! If we have faith in god and in his promises we can truly do anything :) In the talk it just talks about how the field is white and already to harvest, its not yellow and ready to be watered or its not brown and ready to be planted! it is white and there are people that are ready to truly make covenants with god! I believe this, we just have to work hard to find them :) 
I started to read the book of mormon again and i just love first nephi so much! his obedience to gods commandments is incredible and he has so much faith! if we keep gods commandments we will prosper in the land! :) i know this to be true, if we give our best daily effort he will bless us with all that he has! 
I also studied a lot about charity and love! love is the essence of the gospel! when we love god you'll want to serve him and help others around you, and want to keep his commandments! :) i love in 1 peter 4:8 charity can truly prevent a multitude of sin! when we have charity everything else just falls into place :) Charity is everything! 
well i love you all, and i hope you are all doing well! 
your favorite daughter Sophie :) 

Yay for packages!!! 

This is what fall looks like in California.... hahah. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hello Family,

We are truly blessed to have the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives! I cannot thank my heavenly father enough for blessing me with it! This week i learned a lot about Grace and Gods love for us! I was thinking a lot about why God lets us go through hard things, and if he is a God of love why does he make us suffer through things... As i was pondering this question i started to think about a track coach and how they make you run a lot and in the moment we are like oh my gosh why do they hate me so much and why are they making me run so many miles, why can't i just run 1 mile and call it good, that would really make me happy! but its truly because they love us so much that they make us run a lot of miles, they want us to become better, they see our potential and they see that running those miles can help us win that race! I was thinking also about teachers and the teachers i had in the past that made me study hard and gave me a lot of homework, i would get angry and be like uhh why and didn't really see the importance but now looking back i am grateful for them because i was actually able to learn something and it has come in useful, but with the teachers that let us do whatever and goof off i loved them in the moment and thought it was great but i realized that i didn't learn one thing from them... We can relate this to our heavenly father and how he makes us go through things so that we can earn experience and grow! He makes us go through hard things because he loves us! we would never be able to become like him if we weren't able to experience the blessings of the atonement and we would never turn to him if we didn't experience hard times! sorry if that doesn't make to much sense but it sounded a lot better in my head haha :)

Anyways I'm just really grateful for the challenges that i face because i know it is helping me become a better person and making me more fit to live in gods kingdom again someday :) Also as i was pondering my scripture for this week 2 nephi 31:20 about persevering and enduring to the end i came across this talk by Kevin W. Pearson, called "Stay by the tree"  it talks about how enduring to the end is essential to life! it says "Once we enter into covenants with god, there is no going back, giving in, giving up, and giving out are not options." i love that so much! We have covenanted that we would endure trials, that we would stay true to his commandments and try our best each day to give our all and do our best! And as we give our all each day we increase our faith! :) 

This week was pretty good! we found 5 new investigators! We meet a hindu family at knock out that invited us in and we were able to teach them about the restoration. they invited us to their prayer room to pray with them, which was really cool! They like veiled our faces and everything haha it was interesting but a cool experience :) 

on wednesday we had zone conference! it was 9 hours long... but it was really good! we learned a lot about increasing our faith and the importance of working with members :) I can't wait to be home so i can be a better member for the missionaries! i wish i would have been more involved in referring my non member friends and teaching them more about the gospel and inviting them to activities!

Thursday we were teaching one of our new investigators and we were trying so hard to find a member to be there at their lesson and we couldn't find one so we just showed up to this persons house to teach them and there was no girl there so we had to have it outside and while we were teaching a member just walked by and was like hey can i join you, it was so crazy! the lord is truly in the details of our lives and is so aware of our needs and will just work everything out if we do our best! :) 

on Sunday kenny was confirmed! its truly amazing seeing the light just come into their lives! :) 

well i hope you are all doing well! :) have a wonderful week! and have a Happy Halloween :)
Love you!!!!
Sister swenson!
I can't wait til Halloween is over, people get WAY into here, and it's creepy!

Our Brazilian friend, who made us Brazilian food. I think I gained 20 pounds..

Thanks for the Halloween package mom! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hello familia,

This week was soo awesome!! :) I was able to go to the temple with one of our recent converts in the ward named Zach! he is so awesome! And being in the temple was so amazing! Just sitting in the celestial room you really feel like you're truly at home! i love the peace the temple brings! :) on our way home from the temple we drove down with a member and she got pulled over because her tail light was out and so there was 6 missionaries in the car so we decided to teach the police about the restoration of the gospel and gave him a pamphlet and our number haha it was so funny! welcome to the life of a missionary, its the greatest!

We met with Kenny a lot this week to teach him all the lessons he needed to have before his baptism and i have never seen anyone so ready to be baptized! He keeps every commitment we extend to him and is so willing to keep it because he truly wants to follow christ! :)

on Sunday Kenny got baptized!!! oh man the spirit was so strong there! i love baptisms so much! they make the hard work worth it for sure! Jeff ( the one that just got baptized) gave a talk at kennys baptism and it was so awesome! its so cool to see them grow in the gospel in such a short amount of time! After the baptism i was talking with president Henrie and kenny came running right in between us and was like sister swenson and just gave me this huge hug.... haha oh man it was so awkward! haha i didn't know what to do so i just embraced it haha :) My favorite thing about baptisms is their testimony they give after! Kenny gave such a wonderful testimony and just talked about how clean and pure he felt! you could truly see the light shinning from him last night as he was baptized, I'm so grateful i was able to teach him and learn from his example! :)

This week i studied a lot about our baptismal covenants! i was reading the talk by President Eyring on the comforter! "You are a covenant member of the Church of Jesus Christ. a great change began in your heart when you came into to the church. you made a covenant and you received a promise that began changing your very nature." Its so cool to look at the members of this church and really see people being true to the covenants they have made to be there for others and mourn with those and give comfort to those! "Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places." That is why we have a feeling to want to help others that are struggling and going through trials in their lives! we promised that we would help the lord make others burdens light and that we would comfort them when they are sad! we were truly given the power from god to help lighten these loads of the people around us! :)  I'm so grateful for the gift of the holy ghost and how i can truly feel the comfort it gives us! we are truly blessed to have this gospel in our lives! :) 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week of Miracles!

This week was one crazy week of up and downs and miracles and blessings! :)
I just want to let everyone know how aware our heavenly father is of our needs and how he is truly with us every step of the way! he really does love us and wants us to be happy! i am so grateful that i have this knowledge :) 
Tuesday we were able to see many miracles happen! the day started out really rough and i just wanted to give up...but right before we give up heavenly father sends us a miracle and boy did he bless me and sister hoffman! So tuesdayafternoon we were knocking on doors and we met a young man who's family is all mormons but he has never been baptized and we asked him if he would be interested in learning more and coming to church! He said he would love to come and start learning more and taking lessons! Next miracle of the day was that we were able to move in with our favorite sister missionaries Sister Morris and Sister Groberg! This transfer we got a extra set of missionaries in the YSA ward because there is so much work going on me and sister Hoffman weren't able to handle it by ourselves so we will now be working in the valenica stake which we are really excited about :) its going to be so great to just focus our attention on one side of the valley! Third miracle of the day was, we were having a lesson with our investigator Kenny we have been teaching for 2 weeks and we were teaching him about baptism, and he asked us if he could get baptized this coming saturday! It was such an amazing experience and the spirit was so strong! :) Kenny is such an incredible person! His testimony is so strong and he is so excited to follow the savior by being baptized! :) 
Wednesday we went over to the other YSA sisters to help them know which people they need to focus on and give them all the address's and stuff and as we were talking we kind of got off topic and were just talking about food and they were saying oh yeah we went to the grocery store and we totally forgot to get eggs and milk and vegetables and seriously 2 seconds later a random lady called their phone and was like hey sisters we have two huge boxes of food with like milk, eggs, and vegetables would you like it.... IT WAS SO CRAZY! hahah we were just in shock! Its seriously sooooo crazy how aware our heavenly father is of our lives! He just takes care of us! :) 
Then on thursday i lost my planner and i couldn't find it anywhere! i searched my bag like three times and it wasn't there and i was trying to look for it everywhere and me and sister hoffman need to start planning our day so i looked one more time in my bag and there it was just magically sitting on the top! I love Heavenly father so much! He truly does care about us and loves us so much! :)
Friday we had service at heart park... so we had to clean out the pigs pen which was "fun" haha not it was so gross! I was asked to distract the pig so it wouldn't bug the others as they were scooping up poop and all that fun stuff... Let me tell you pigs are not very cute... i had to sit there and pet its stomach and it had poop all over it and oh boy was it a fun experience haha all the missionaries were laughing at me...
On Saturday we were able to go to the temple visitors center with Kenny and a couple girls from the ward! it was such an amazing experience! the spirit was so strong and Kenny is so excited to go through the temple one day! :) I LOVE being a missionary so much and seeing peoples lives change! 
That night we got to set up a booth at the mall and pass out pass a long cards which was really fun :)  Then we had dinner at macaroni grill with bishop and some people from the ward! I love this ward soo much! i never want to leave this place! Everyone is so great! :) 

This week for my studies i read the ensign for this month and it was soo good! i loved the talk "My Walk With Him" she says: "We can talk of christ, but it is very different to walk with christ. we need to stay focused on Heavenly Father and the saviors love and ability to succor me. I had to believe that i do matter and that the lord can and will make up for all that i am lacking, only then could i truly turn my broken, fragile heart to him. i believe that he feels my pain and sorrow and is willing to mourn with me, to understand my deepest emotions and feeling of loss." 

I know our Heavenly Father and our Savior are there for us! they are there 24/7! we just need to turn to them so we can receive comfort and help! they are just waiting for us to ask! We can truly overcome anything with their help and strength that they lend! I love this gospel so much and i know with all my heart that this is Christ's church that he set up here on the earth when he was here, and that he restored it through the Prophet Joseph smith! :) we are soo blessed to be living in the last dispensation and to have the gospel be apart of our lives!

love you all so much!
Us with some sisters from the YSA ward and Kenny at the Visitor's Center.

The LA Temple!

Sorry mom and dad, the SASS is still within me... haha.