Monday, April 18, 2016

Picking Up

Hey folks!

It seems like I do this every week but I'm reeally short on time. Again. So this'll have to be fast. Which is really too bad, because we had an awesome week this week. I'll stick to the highlights though.

On Tuesday we had a lesson with an inactive member named Sis White. Her home/visiting teachers, the Dunns, asked us to come. We were basically just there though, we didn't do much. The Dunns were awesome. They've been visiting her faithfully for 30 years!! We helped brother Dunn give her a priesthood blessing and it was a really powerful experience for her. She knows it's all true, it's just hard for her to be at church because it's so family oriented and her family situation is not so ideal. But she said she'll be back as soon as she's ready. And she implied she thinks that will be soon.

On Wednesday we had three lessons in one day! And all three of them were with investigators! That's awesome for this area. Days that good have been rare since I've been here. The Lord is working with us and the work is definitely picking up. One was with a crazy old lady who talked to us in McDonalds one time a month or so ago. We decided to drop by and ended up teaching her about the Book of Mormon and giving her a copy. She actually seems pretty open and interested, when she's not telling us all about her grandkids and her rutabaga and her chihuahuas. Oh - also - her Cherokee name is "Dancing Mouse." She even has a cheesy vanity plate with it on it. It's hilarious. Especially because she's probably not got a drop of Native American blood in her.

One lesson was with Fred again, the former investigator we met last week. We taught him about the apostasy and the restoration and about priesthood authority, and also about personal apostasy. It was a good lesson. He's doing better about drinking, he's still sober, so that's good.

The third lesson that day was with David and Kristen. We finally got to teach them the full restoration. David struggled to focus a little but seemed to remember a lot of what he had once known, and Kristen kept asking why other people don't believe this. It was great.

On Sunday one of the priests gave his missionary farewell talk. He leaves for the Arizona Tempe mission this week. He talked about the purpose of adversity and did an excellent job. And his dad spoke too, and gave an absolutely excellent talk that I wish I had time to tell you about. He talked about a story from his mission in the Canary Islands... Well, I really don't have time, so I'll refrain, but it was awesome.

That evening, we had a lesson with our less active named Brother Roberts, the one I mentioned last week that I was griping about that he wasn't going anywhere, but then told us he felt prompted to come back to church. Well, he came to church, and not only that, but he brought his non member girlfriend too. We were able to see them that evening and taught her the Restoration and it was awesome. He had already taught her a lot and she'd had a lot of positive exposure to the church from him and his family and some of her family too. Like Kristen, she kept asking why on earth other Christians don't believe this. Why they wouldn't want there to be more of God's word was just beyond her, and me too for that matter. She said when she finds out this is true for herself she would definitely like to be baptized. Which is awesome. And, once again, humbling for me.

The Lord is definitely helping this area to pick up. Some of what Brother Youngblood (the father of the departing missionary) talked about was not working too hard and not "trying to force the Spirit." Letting the Lord do His job, doing our best and following Him with faith and using our agency but not trying to force things. That seems to be true of this area. And I think it's true of our lives too. We need to seek His guidance and direction and humbly and submissively seek to do things His way, accepting and trusting in His will and faithfully bearing the adversity He sees fit to give us.

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19)

I'm working on submitting to the Lord right now and becoming more as a child. I challenge you guys to examine your own lives and do the same. :)

Well, somehow this email has become super long, as it always seems to do even though I truly am trying to make it brief. Maybe it's because I'm not taking time to condense my thoughts... Sorry you had to read this novel. I love you all! Make yourselves a great week!

Elder Alex Swindler


1) Elder Baird is "dying" (going home) next week. We took pictures of the funeral services we held after district meeting.

2) We decided it would be best to bury him with some doughnuts in case he gets hungry. It's what he would have wanted. (*sniffle*)

3) Mourning poses.

4) Last district pic!

More pictures:
1) Man, this guy really likes giving all his redneck stuff to Sal.

2) Twinnerrrrs! (This was our best white girl pose. Also, only the ties were planned. Everything else just happened that way haha. We even had matching shoes. And then we wonder why people always ask us if we're brothers...)

3) The Dancing Mouse vanity plate

4) The RM life

Monday, April 11, 2016

It's Never Too Late

Heyy, folks!

Pretty okay week this week. We got a new investigator! And we finally got in contact with Dusty again!

Anna is doing well. She's stubborn as always. But we helped her to recognize this week, through some of her past experiences with receiving answers to prayer, that she will have peace about a decision to join the Church at the moment when she finally prays about it and gets an answer. She's just not ready to pray about it yet though. She knows what the answer will be.

We saw a bunch of less-actives this week and had some really good lessons. We saw a guy who I had been griping about just before the lesson, that he would probably not come back to church anytime soon, and then in the lesson he told us that one of the things he was prompted in Conference to do (he watched part of Conference - hooray for revelation through Conference!) was to start coming back to church, so he was going to start coming again. Awesome! And a dose of humble pie for me! Haha

We finally saw a couple of recent convert kids that Elder Hoff and his last companion baptized! We've been trying to see them since Elder Lambert got here but they just keep cancelling. They're kind of punks and don't like to give straight answers to questions (they're 9 and 13) but at least we finally saw them.

We also saw David, our excommunicated member, and shared the What Lack I Yet story from Matthew 19. He said it was what he needed right then because of some things he was struggling with, so that was good.

We didn't see Jon this week because he isn't answering the door or phone. Which stinks, but isn't terribly unusual for him, so we are a little frustrated but not too worried.

We had interviews with President Griffin this week and he gave me some counsel that is going to be really helpful for me. That was good too.

And! Yep, you read me right. We got a new investigator this week! His name is Fred. Actually he's a former investigator that Elder Lambert stumbled on in the Area Book. He has been taught for years and has even had a baptismal date in the past. He believes Joseph Smith is a prophet but he doesn't seem to realize the connection to this being the true Church. He has Word of Wisdom concerns but that can be overcome. He has a lot of potential. Definitely led there by the Spirit. We even saw him with a member, one of the youth who leaves for the Arizona Tempe Mission in 8 days!

Also - we finally got in touch with Dusty again! We decided on Friday to text him one last time and give him a week, and if he didn't respond, to drop him. Well, he texted back that day. He and Amber are going through a reeaally tough spot right now. They could use a lot of prayers. We stopped by when we were in the area (another prompting - this week has had a lot of promptings from the Spirit) and caught him home finally and were able to give him a priesthood blessing. We've put his name on the nearest temple prayer roll too.

My message for this week is that hope is never lost. For anyone. I was reminded of that this week by Dusty - who finally got back to us - and by our less-active - who is going to come back to church despite what I thought - and by our new investigator Fred - who was a former investigator. Christ never gives up on anyone, including YOU, and including everyone around us. So neither should we. No matter how bad things may seem or how far you may have wandered you and all of us can come back because of the Atonement of Christ. Reach out to Him! He's reaching out to you!

"...I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts." -2 Ne 28:32

I love you all!

Elder Alex Swindler

Glam Shots for the Fan Club:

1) Featuring Elder Swindler, Elder Lambert, and Elder Baird, demonstrating the safe and proper way to ride in a mission vehicle.

2) Featuring Elder Nelson, Elder Swindler, Elder Lambert's cheek (yes, his face) and Elder Baird's chin.

3) And here we see the Lambert in his natural habitat.

4-6) Some selfies.

Monday, April 4, 2016


Hey folks!

We had a pretty good week this week. It started out pretty good on Tuesday when we were FINALLY able to meet with a really cool part member couple named the Bartons. We've been trying to see them since Elder Lamber got here but their lives got super crazy and we haven't been able to see them. About a week or two ago I think it really came to a head for them because the wife was talking to us on the phone after we called again trying to see them, and she just started crying... So we called the nearest temple and put their names on the prayer roll, and within a week or so they said things were calming down finally and they could see us! It was a good visit too. We got to know them and then invited them to watch a session of Conference.

We also got a phone call and found out our apartment was going to be inspected by the mission office while they were in the area. So we spent a lot of time deep cleaning the place. That was fun. :P But now our apartment is much nicer so that's good.

We watched the Saturday afternoon session of conference with Anna, which was good. And before that we were talking with her, and she agreed to take a minute in private before the session and pray and ask why the Lord sent us here and why now, then look for the answer in conference. Which is awesome! She normally won't ask any questions of the Lord that are even close to whether the Gospel might be true because she's afraid of the answer she'll get. So this is progress!

And in other news, Jon is on date for baptism for May 21 and his wife is praying about being baptized! She's the one whose mother passed away last week. We talked about eternal families and temples and she said she is very interested in the idea of being with her family forever. She just wants to pray about it, which is great, because that's what we'd have asked her to do anyway. And Jon's already totally on board. He even watched a little of one of the sessions of Conference and felt like he got some guidance that he really needed. They've got word of wisdom concerns but that can be overcome, and if they feel like it's what the Lord wants for them I bet they'll be motivated enough.

Conference was awesome, of course. I got a lot of answers to personal questions and guidance for my life and concerns. The Spirit is awesome. I hope you all had a great experience too, and that you got some guidance for your own lives. If you didn't see conference, take some time to watch it! I promise you'll get some guidance from the Lord for your life, especially if you are praying and looking for it. My challenge to you this week is to reflect on the things you thought and felt, and then act on them. If you feel like you didn't get anything, or even if you did and you'd like to get even more out of conference, start watching conference again and prayerfully seek guidance from the Lord. The talks are online. I bet you have time to listen to a talk a week in the car, if nowhere else.

I love you all! The Gospel's true! The Savior lives! He can save you and change you if you will let Him. And this Church is truly led by His prophet and apostles who truly do have His authority. It's here to bless your life and help you to live more faithfully and happily.

Make yourselves a great week,

Elder Alex Swindler


1) I got new glasses!

2) A mural in downtown Bristol

3) Classy

4) Elder Baird and Elder Lambert got a little lonely during the Sunday Afternoon session

5-6) More new glasses selfies