Monday, November 26, 2012

Photo update.

November 26, 2012

From: Jade Swayne <>
Subject: Re: Did you have enough turkey?
To: "Penny Paxman" <>
Date: Monday, November 26, 2012, 1:03 PM

Well...This was a Turkey day NOT to be forgotten!!!
First it was my first mission thanksgiving (1 down 1 to go!!)
Second, I did not have one single item of food that I didn't like.
Third, I got to hangout with some of the greatest families in the Gallup 2nd ward.
And fourth, I love Gallup!!!!
This place has reaaaaaally grown on me and I simply can not bare the thought of being transferred someday. Haha and yes yes...I know what you may be thinking " Is this the same girl who basically went into a depressions when she found out she was going to New Mexico?? and now she says she loves Gallup!?whuuuuuut!?" And to answer that question I have to say "no"...I am not that same girl...I am still brown and full of poise and grace, as I have always, been (haha) but other than that I feel different. I feel like a completely different person than when I left. I never would have guessed that I could have SO many..SO SO SOOOOO many character flaws! Haha. And I also could have never guessed that the Lord would do so much to help me to correct myself.
These have undoubtedly been some, if not the most, PAINFUL weeks/ months of my life! It is hard to get up in the morning, it is hard to be with somebody 24/7, and it is hard to do almost everything that we as missionaries are asked to do. BUT I would not give up these uncomfortable, painful, humbilifying,character-shaping months for all the watermelon, coconut waters and cobs of corn in the world! (Only those who know me well will understand the weight of that statement) 
I just can't even begin to tell you how much I love being a missionary. To see the joy that people feel when you come into their home. To see the relief in their eyes when you tell them that there is life after death. To see the change in them when they follow up on challenges and begin to develop their own testimonies.
Wow...What a fulfilling life it is being a missionary. I wish that I could wear a head cam to show you all of the crazy things we see out here. We got word from our President that, since all of the mission will be filling up after the age change for missionaries, they might be opening up the Rez area to the sisters again!!!! Which means we would be living on the Reservation.....Isn't that awesome!?
The Rez has been closed to the Sisters for years. But now that there is a new mission president (President Batt) , that rule might change here in the next few months. The word on the street is that the mission will be increased by about 100 missionaries! They wanted to increase it to more but there is not enough housing out here right now for that many to come in.
It's awesome to be a witness and a helping hand in bringing the children of Lehi back to the truth. I never would have guessed that my mission would be so prophetic, if that's the word I'm looking for.
Mitchell, Jacob, Kenzie, Mckale, Connor, Chan and Kylie....if you ever even have a thought about serving a it. It is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. It is totally worth every sacrifice to get out here. To see people's lives changed, to feel love for complete strangers and to be on the Lord's errand is the best choice my 21 year old self has ever made.
On a lighter note, it is crazy to think that we will get to skype each other next month, Mom and Dad. It is even crazier to think that my whole entire 22nd year of life will be spent without any of you physically in my life...that is nuts! But again I'm grateful to be here and I know that this year will go by really fast.
Welcome home to Joe Cobb!! I missed you boi! :) and can't wait to see you in 2014. I told your mom, before I left, that I was bummed that you were getting home before I got to see you. I told her " now I'll never get to marry Joe and become a part of the Cobb family!! He'll be married before I get back!" lol and your mom said " There is always adoption.." Sooo, basically instead of me fighting BYU girls to death for your hand I will just go with your mom's idea ;) you might just have a new sister when I get back home...Haha I will not miss my chance to be a Cobb again! I love your family. Thank you for the e-mail Sister Cobb. Your door approach idea might just happen one of these days...
Well, I think it's time for me to log outta here and get back to work. Our Jeep's head lights weren't working, so it's in the shop right now. So currently we're driving a Chevy Colorado pick-up. Which is one of my dream cars. I love driving this lil thing! I wake up every morning thinking "Yes! I get to drive on the Rezzie roads in a lil beast wagon'' It's a pretty awesome life, I must say..
But alrighty. I love all of you! and I mean, ALL. I think about ya often and honestly don't miss you because I am having such a great time here and have lots of wonderful memories of our time together to sustain my days. And please don't take that the wrong way. I just really do love being a missionary and am slowly but surely losing myself in this work.
So again, I love you all so so much and know that we will be together again before you know it. Don't waste a day missing me. Live life to the fullest instead so that we can have all kinds of great stories to share when February 19th 2014 rolls around :) :) :)
Keep the letters comin. I love them! And a thousand times " I love you!"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Photo updates.

District meeting, guy in middle was leaving the mission that week

The family who feed us on my Birthday. The Billies :)

Our first day of snooooooow
Confusing right? They didnt answer. which bummed me out. I wanted to see who these people were!!
Ernesto Watchmens Baptism this past week!! Woohoo! He's the one standing next to me. His brother baptized him.

November 19, 2012

From: Jade Swayne <>
Subject: Re: Gobble Gobble!
To: "Penny Paxman" <>
Date: Monday, November 19, 2012, 2:25 PM

Wus uppp errbody :) Hope all is well wherever this e-mail is finding you. I want to give another shout of thanks for all of the letters and love that I have been receiving these past few months. Sister Stewart told me that " I receive more mail than anybody she knows." Haha! And I think that may be true. All of you are so wonderful and it warms my heart more than a Hotpocket on a Foreman grill in July to see that our friendships are real. That you didn't just forget about me as soon as I left. And I understand that eventually the letters will not be as abundant as they are now, because I know that you all have lives and will get busy, but I'm not going to think about that right now. All I want to do is hope and pray that the letters I have now and the letters that I will receive in the future no matter how scarce they may become (lol) will always help me get through the tough days.
They truly are my gold. I love hearing about your days and knowing that we are still connected.
But this week was a goodie. I was asked to speak in our District meeting. I was asked to speak on the Atonement, and wow...what a privilege..I like to think that this assignment was Heavenly Father's way of saying " It is time for you to learn more about this subject" and for that reason I was beyond excited to be given this assignment. Because more than anything, I want the spirit to teach me. I love to learn the spiritual truths of the spirit.
I really truly believe that missionary work brings about blessings in the life that we left behind. I received two letters this week from two different family members telling me that they have started going back to get emotional just talking about this....I need to hold back the tears though...I'm not so sure how the Navajo culture feels about crying on keyboards. lol. There's gotta be some kind of superstition regarding this..haha nah, I'm kidding, I need to be more respectful...but anywho. These two letters have given me so much strength and so much hope. After reading them I felt something come alive in me, something that I never even knew was there...I felt a renewed sense of hope in having a Celestial family...not just the family that I will someday create with a special guy, but the family that I currently have. I can't help but believe that all those who have become inactive within my own family will someday come back to full activity in the church. I have never wanted something so badly in my life....
But enough of the gushy stuff. I need to mention that all Christmas packages need to be sent via priority mail, please :) We have a temple trip coming up on the 10th!!! Snowflake temple here we come! Annnnd I have now knocked on and have been received at the door of one man without pants and another in just his whitey tighties...classy right? I have also been in a house straight off of the show "Hoarders." It was NUTS!!! I have never seen walls made of random stuff and walking space the width of a foot long sub sandwich. It was crazy. And there were all of these random cats coming out of the piles...eww! Haha! Also, I had a puppy jump into my skirt....which was interesting. I was able to restart an old Navajo lady's fire last night. ( Thank youuuuuu Grandpa for teaching me how to build and restart fires, It really came in handy that day.)
Also, We currently have 3 thanksgiving day appointments for dinner and have declined about 4 more. Haha! People really do love the missionaries :) Our P-day was switched from Monday to Thursday this week because President Batt felt that we would not be able to get much work done on Turkey day. But we were blessed to be able to e-mail today so that our families would not worry. What a great President we have here in the Farmington, New Mexico Mission!
Grandma, I wish that I were going to be there to eat some of your "nice Turkey." ;) muhahaha
I also laughed when I saw that you went to Hoopes the other day!! Haha, I love you all so much, you make me laugh.
Please keep writing me. Your letters really make my heart so flowery and gay. (?)
Well, alrighty, gotta go! Duty calls 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Misty Eyre
6:09 PM (4 hours ago)
to Jadepaxmanpbreeparkcraig1carrollharriettbryant1memariekingsburypattivance
What you said Jade makes me think of one of my many many motto's I say to myself through out the day... "What you think about, you bring about!" This reminds me that self pity, stress, anger, anxiety, etc is a choice. That I can choose to look for the joy in life and be happy.

In order to bring more joy to my life I am looking for more "TA-DA" moments like when I was young and I couldn't wait to get home to show my mom what I did that day or when my kids say to me, " Watch this mom...." I think that we don't do this enough (or at all) when we are adults. Maybe it sounds silly but I think we all can use more "TA-DA" moments in our lives! So I too challenge you to set a goal to bring more joy and silliness into your lives by looking for things that make you happy! 

Think everyday, what is the best thing that happened to me today? Please also ask those that you see every day, it literally changes their physiology. Give yourself and others permission to be joyful!

Everything in life is about feelings. EVERYTHING. How you feel about
yourself, family, friends, your purpose, etc.

The number one thing that people want in life is recognition and acknowledgement. Humans crave attention!
They want to FEEL SPECIAL. Make it a goal to make others feel special, including yourself!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

From: Jade Swayne <>
Subject: Re: Snow Snow everywhere!!
To: "Penny Paxman" <>
Date: Monday, November 12, 2012, 1:22 PM

Hey Mom and everybody!
I had a great Birthday! I loved my new clothes and all of the other goodies I received. THANK YOU EVERYBODY! I really could not ask for a greater support system. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Also, Mom, if it is not to much trouble could you ask the Bishop to give the ward a very special thank you to all those in the ward that gave cards, money, and such things during the time of my farewell. Now that it's Thanksgiving time I feel exceptionally ungrateful for not ever sending out thank you cards to everybody like you told me to. Also, if anybody has time, will they please post on my Facebook a thank you from me. Because wow, I received a lot of love on my birthday, as well as those last few days before entering the MTC. It would mean a lot if somebody could do that. Also, If Tiara Sims is reading this, I wanna give her a lil shout out for the e-mail she sent last week. It was great hearing from you...I am not allowed to respond to anybody outside of the family by e-mail, so I can't respond unless you send me an address. I am trying my best to be an obedient Sister. Haha, but it's really tough sometimes when I get e-mails from friends and can't respond to them because I can't re-e-mail them and I have no address to write to. So please please, if you have time, WRITE ME! Because, Basically...I love you and don't want you to feel like I'm not responding to your e-mails.
But okie dokie, you asked me what I want/need for Christmas and since you are so amazing I guess I will share my Christmas list with you,
1. Pictures! anybody and everybody send me pictures!!! The ones that I have received thus far are hanging above my bed and greet me every morning when I get up. I try my best not to think about all of you and home while we're working, but it is really nice to come home after a long day of missionary-ness and see your smiling faces before bed time. *Don't think that these have to be family portraits or anything, haha the more random and hilarious the better**
2. We have been doing a lot of tracting lately and they have told us to not let our bags get too bulky because bulky=stuff and stuff=people wanting to steal your stuff. So I have been thinking that my scriptures are to big and that I should down-size to the compact quad. I know they are expensive...but I really would love to be less of a target. Haha if you get what I'm sayin. They don't need to be fancy. They just need to be small.
3. I need tights. I have 3 pairs right now. But just in case. (black and grey are the colors that I have now. those are the colors I like).
4. There are some wool socks for about 12 bucks at R.E.I that I should have bought before coming. They are just R.E.I brand..nothing sophisticated I just know that they are really warm and my tootsie's have been gettin cold while tracting so some of these would be nice. Also they don't have to be R.E.I lol they just need to be warm. I have lots of extra space in my boots so don't be afraid to get something fatty and thick. I like em chunky ;)
5. This might sound silly, buuuuut...testimonies. I would love to have your testimonies in writing. Because I know someday my heart is going to be hurting from the lack of immediate success in our area and I'm gunna need your warm,heart felt words to pick me back up and get me re-motivated for the next day. So please, anybody who feels comfortable sharing their testimony with me, I would love to have those. Also those of you who are not religious, it's ok not to send your testimony about anything church related. You can write about what you believe life motto..anything. Your words and examples are what got me out on this mission, your words and examples are what I am made please send me some more building material :)
6. Oh! And some little neon tabs would be very helpful. I need them to mark my scriptures and the Gallup Wal-mart is always out of them!
I can't think of anything else...but if I do I will let you know. Thank you for caring about me.
It truly is amazing how life goes. One minute we are making a plan or setting a goal and the next minute we are living said goal. That's how I feel about this mission. It feels like only yesterday that I was to turn 21 and start working on my papers. And now I'm here, 22 years old on the mission that I have prepared my whole life to serve. It's still hard to believe that I'm here. But as the days go by, I begin to forget more and more about life before my mission. I could barely remember what my personal cell phone looked like the other day, somebody mentioned Facebook during a dinner appointment and I really had to think "what's Facebook?", and slowly but surely the song lyrics and movie quotes that I could so easily recite are slipping away from me. It's nuts! Somedays I really wonder who on earth will I be after these 18 months? And honestly I have NO idea..I couldn't even begin to guess. All I know is that I will be better than when I left...I have already changed so much. I never thought that I could be broken down and rebuilt so much in just 2 months-ish time. 
So back to the first idea of setting goals and then living them. I have discovered most intensely on my mission, more so than any other adventure, that when we think a thought, set a goal and decide to act on them we are making the decision to change. We are deciding to improve ourselves and evolve. And though we make this decision, that we want to challenge ourselves and become better, we sometimes or most times, for some of us, get discouraged when we don't see instant results. We may start to think that we are not capable of changing...But I can promise you that this is not true.
As children we believed that we could do anything, that we could be anything and that we could touch the sky. When did this mentality die in us? When did we decide that we were not meant for greatness? When did we come to the conclusion that our dreams must be limited to our current situation and that we can never be the person that we dreamed of being as children? 
Was it life that beat us down? Was it the fear of trying that crippled us? Was it a person that said " You don't have what it takes?" What was it?
Well, whatever it was or is, I want you to do me a favor...GET RID OF THEM.
Delete those thoughts, get over those fears at whatever cost and start dreaming big. And know more than anything else, that YOU CAN CHANGE.
I know from experience that change is possible for every man, woman and child. I know that hope, determination, persistence and faith are the ingredients for success in all things. I know that we all have the potential for greatness...and you may wonder, "How does this 22 year old know that everybody has this potential?" To that question I reply by saying, "I know these things because I have a testimony that we are all sons and daughters of the divine. Even God the creator of all things in both heaven and earth."
I may be 22 years old, with little to no real life experience in comparison to some, BUT as I live and breathe I know 100% without any doubt that every person living on this earth is a son or daughter of God. And I know that because of that divine heritage we are capable of so much.
So if you are 40 years old and want a black belt in it! If you are 67 and want to go back to college...go for it! If you are struggling with an addiction or find yourself stuck in an abusive relationship...change that! Or maybe you are just stuck in a rut and don't know what to do...whatever your situation, I can promise that if you get down on your knees and plead with the Lord with full sincerity of heart with a willingness to act on His command, He will not only hear you, but He will deliver you out of your pain, fear, distress...whatever you are feeling. He will help you meet your goals and He will help you change.
I have a testimony of this. I do believe that all people can change...But more than anything I know that God and faith on His sons name can help us accomplish our goals, live our dreams and become the person that God created us to be.
I love all of you. And hope that you will give up on colorless dreams, sad days and regret. And instead start living with a bullet proof faith in yourself and in God's ability to help us. I know that we all have goals as to who and what we want to be... But I also testify that if we give our burdens to Heavenly Father, He will make us into something more than we can even imagine.
Please believe...
Please act...
And please strive everyday to be happier than you were yesterday.
A big shout out to all from Gallup!! woot woot!
Love, always, Sister Swayne

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

From: Jade Swayne <>
Subject: Re: BIRTHDAY!!!!!
To: "Penny Paxman" <>
Date: Monday, November 5, 2012, 1:15 PM

Where do I even begin to describe this week...Tuesday? Yea. let's go with that. Ok first off, We went-a-tracting! Which, by the way, is the junior form of people watching, Im convinced. Just imagine two cute girls on your door step trying to tell you the most bizarre story that you've ever heard....Are you imagining this?? I hope so! Because that is the only way that you will understand some of the expressions, greetings, and answers we receive from the people of Gallup, New Mexico. They know exactly what we're about as soon as they see our black name tags. We have had some people, after we've knocked on their doors, sneak up to the door so we can't see them in the window and lock their doors so we can't walk into their homes.... yea! Are you confused by this too? It's like they think Sister Stewart and I are some big Amazon women that are going to beat down their door, pillage their homes, eat their food, steal the natural resources from the land and say "Be baptized or I will cut you!!" While they are cowering at the point of our jugular aimed Samurai swords! They just...I don't know lol I don't understand the whole locking of the door part.
But anyways, Tuesday was full of fun people and people with the saddest stories you've ever heard. One man named Victor, told us how he had been an alcoholic for 10 plus years...and how after he let go of drinking he became subject to prescription medication for about another 10 years. He has two sons who are, to his knowledge, going down the same path of destruction that he was at their age. He expressed how helpless he felt. How he wants his boys to have a better life than he did, but they don't listen to him. He even told us that he had thought about shooting his sons if they didn't shape him, I guess, death is better than what he suffered. He also wanted to shot one of his doctors and his wife...crazy. The saddest part of this whole discussion with Victor was the fact that he wants to come to church but can't decide if going without his family would be wrong. He seems to think that it would be disloyal to his family if he were to save himself and leave them to essentially "burn in hell"....So it's a very tough situation. And we don't know how to help Victor.
That same Tuesday we meet a family living out on the Rez. One is from Mexico, Rosando, and his wife, Deann are from the Rez. They have lived in the Gallup area for about 3 months. They lost their business and had nowhere else to go. Rosando is from a very very wealthy family in Mexico. While Deann is from a Rez town that had no electricity or running water..The two came together and have helped each other in some very amazing ways. When they first meet, Rosando was a major meth user and was close to death. Deann came into his life and taught him what love was..she helped him with his addiction, but in the end he was beyond human help. This is where the Lord came into their lives. Deann was a part of the placement program and was baptized into the LDS church, she has some basis on Christianity and prompted Rosando to give his addiction to the Lord. She knew that God was the only person that could save her husband. Rosando was so stubborn about prayer and all of the repentance stuff..but Deann was persistent. And eventually her persistence paid off. Rosando was freed from his Meth addiction and now has a beautiful testimony of the power of Jesus Christ. He told us how God was the only one who could help him..he would have died if God had not helped him to overcome. This man had me in tears...I could fell his testimony and his true faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. My own testimony was strengthened that day..and I look forward to going back to that families home. I want them to know about the fullness of the Gospel and how it can bring a person EVEN closer to their savior and redeemer. I am so excited to see them again.
I went really in depth with those stories. I apologize...but I hope you liked them :) For time's sake I'm going to skip to Friday and the greatness that occurred that day. 
There is a brother in our ward named Brother Craig. His is native American and has a United States sized heart. This man has really been through the ringer. He is a Vietnam vet (so we hear a lot of "back in Nam" intro's in our conversations with him). He has been through two divorces and suffers from intense Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But with all of that said, Brother Craig takes the sister Missionaries out for lunch every 2 weeks. He loves the sisters...they saved him from, this is a direct quote, "a path of self destruction". So again, he loves us. in a non-creepy,psycho war vet way. lol.
This past Friday we went to a Mexican restaurant with Brother Craig. He is not a very positive person and began to go on about how the people in the ward are hypocrites and how he hates hearing them get up to the pulpit and talk about living the gospel when they are the biggest offenders of not living that same Gospel principle. He went on like this for a few minutes and Sister Stewart and I just sat there until he was done. That's when I was instantly inspired with a thought...I decided to bare my testimony to Brother Craig about how yes, there are many people who do not live the Gospel the way they should, but that is not stopping him from living it. Sister Stewart and I both went on to tell him that he doesn't need to worry about what others are doing, that he can be a self sustaining member who depends 100% on his savior...I don't remember all that we said, but boy was this guy eating up our words! Haha, it was amazing! When we met Brother Craig at the restaurant he was in negative mood, but by the time we said goodbye to him after lunch he was clearly happy. He told us that he always feels so happy when he talks to us and I knew that he really meant it.
These are all simple stories of missionary life. And I don't know, maybe they don't mean much to anybody but me. But I just wanted to share the stories of the amazing people of Gallup, New Mexico. In hopes of expressing how great missionary work is. Whether we are helping a post-addict understand that he can be free of the shame and guilt that he feels everyday, helping a family learn more about the God that they already worship or giving a lonely soul a new view of life...I know that this is the work of God. And I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can answer all of life's questions. I know this because there has not been one time that I have felt like I didn't know what to do to help a person...the Gospel covers every concern and every question that any of these people present to us. The hard part is getting them to believing...
But we will keep on pushing ourselves, finding prepared individuals and testifying of what we know is true...I pray that our daily efforts will be enough to help these people. I am truly feeling a new love for them that I didn't feel when I first heart is softened and I really really want to be able to bring the light of the Gospel into their lives permanently.
Everybody reading this please read the Book of Mormon. It's truly is the word of will change you life. I promise.
Love Sister Swayne