Elder Swanger has been called to serve in the Tulsa Oklahoma, spanish speaking mission.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Yea! Dustin sent Pete a fathers day card so we have a new address for him.
250 N. Madison #D
Siloam Springs, AR 72761

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dustin's Experience the Day of Joplin's Tornado

Mi Familia,

Sorry about the emailing I was still a little scatter brained. I will start off by listing the major damage. The Joplin Stake Center is gone and there are some cool pictures of that with a picture of Christ untouched. The St. John’s hospital is, well not gone, but erased and they don’t know If there is enough damage that they will just have to rebuild, 75% of the city, FLAT, the feeling as you see it is unbelievable. The school that they built several years ago is just gone. Home Depot, Wal-mart, and Cherry-Berry are flat! I mention Cherry-Berry because we went there last week.

We were up in a suburb called Jasper having dinner with the Talbot family. They informed us on our weather status and we just had a joke filled pleasant dinner. Well, it was storming pretty hard where we were at and we even saw one car that or rather a truck with lights on it speeding to where a hill might be and we guessed it was a storm chaser.

They were very fun to be with. We were communicating by text with our exchange and the Zone Leaders. At 5:23 pm (central) we got a text from the Zone Leaders saying, “Elder& Sisters there is a good potential of tornados today please please be careful tonight if there are tornado warnings or sirens please take shelter!” Exact spelling and spacing. We were just going, “okay we will watch”

About this point the storm was beginning to pick up. At 6:07 pm our exchange, (someone that volunteers to go out and help us teach), texted us and said, “There is a tornado warning!” Meaning they are literally watching one. So that got us a little more on our toes so we checked the radar and it didn’t look that bad. Our dinner was hesitant to take us home but it was a little crowded and the two babies were making a fuss. We were finishing dessert when we got another text from Bro. Brad Fields, our exchange. He texted, “Ya its destroying Joplin!” (Joplin, Missouri). “I would stay inside and seek shelter!” 6:16 pm.

Now we are a little nervous. We were trying to make pleasant over ice cream (cookies and cream) and fresh baked cookie dessert. Bro. Talbot at this point was being kicked off his email by his neighbor and bro-in-law to check out the radar. Everyone else is checking over their shoulders and looking out the window, every other few seconds.

The next text, Zone leaders (dramatic pause) “How is everything…we got hit” (6:21 pm). We tried to call them and text them right after but nothing would go through. There are two sets of missionaries in Joplin. The zone leaders and Joplin 2nd ward Elders. We are just thinking that the storm is creating interference.

I am so glad that the members care about the missionaries. To the rest of the world it would be weird for someone to be so worried about two really strange men that are in their church for such a short while. Bro. Field’s last text, “Okay just stay safe! God bless! You should check with the Joplin missionaries and see if they are okay!” (6:24 pm)

That is exactly what we did when we got home. Both Joplin Elders and even the Webb City Elders were un-reachable. Because of all this we decided to call the assistants, but they did not answer. Si I decided to call President Merkley. I explained the situation and he said that he had also been trying to get a hold of them (the zone leaders). He told me I did the right thing to call him and that I brought him some peace of heart. He then charged us to contact the rest of the zone, and report. (about 7:20 pm).

We finally got a hold of everyone and even ended up working with Bro. Richinns (from the stake) to get all of the missionaries contacted. I called Pres. Merkley about every 30 minutes. I remember every time that I called him he said, “You’re a good man Elder Swanger. Thank you for keeping me updated.” I reported to President at 8:59 pm, right after the last of the missionaries were found safe. This is the order in which they were found. (by ward name) Nevada, Monett, Pittsburg, Granby, Neosho, Miami, Fort Scott, Webb City, Joplin 1st, and Joplin 2nd.

My companion seemed worried to a degree but I had an indescribable peace.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Email May 31st 2011

Dustin: Are you there today?

Leah: I am. How are things going?

Dustin: Things are going to be very busy but not at the same time. There are going to be so many people that are coming to help in the restoration effort that we have to be assigned to go there. We have 600 [people] from the Church in Joplin over the week end. 10,000 volunteers in general from across the country. You know about the Alabama tornado? We have surpassed them where the [recovery] work done is concerned! It is crazy and yes I now have my yellow shirt.

The Yellow Mormon Helping Hands shirts go to any one that is joined with us to do the work. We have had investigators and non members in them. I would like to send you pictures but I am looking for the adapter. OH, having my boots would be nice. It is full of nails and fun stuff like that and they would like to have us in boots. I don't know when I will be there next. I have boots. The leather ones will be good.

Dustin: [More about the tornado] Think of it this way the tornado itself was 1/2 mile wide and it was left a 6 mile footprint. Inside the footprint most building don't even have frames left. But what I was talking about is we have done more recovery work than Alabama has done. All of the houses that can be saved are patched up and the debris is cleaned up off their yards and Alabama is still working on the second part. We have so many people here they just don't know what to do with them. To let you know, yes we were there yesterday because we were assigned, and I will tell you why the death toll is raising so slow.

Imagine a 5 gallon bucket of hands.

Leah: That means they are still finding body parts? I know that they are using finger prints and dental records to identify those killed and that it is a slow process.

Dustin: And DNA that is even slower. About a month. So how was your super busy week?

Leah: It hasn’t happened yet. [He is referring to the week leading up to seminary graduation.]

Leah: I was looking at pics online of the before and after. It is amazing.

I am sending a letter that is very detailed of the night of the tornado. I tell you how crazy life is right now. We have not had a single proselytizing day since the tornado!

Well the letter to the president is done and it looks like it is time to go.

Les amo( love y'all)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Tornado that hit Joplin, MO

We had a ward member call us the night (Sunday May 22nd) that the tornado hit Joplin to let us know that Dustin was safe. The next day was Dustin's day to email us. We were not expecting to hear from him because of all the damage that happened in the area. In the late afternoon while Dustin and his companion went to a members home. They called me to again let us know that he was safe and that they (Elder Stoddard too) were going to be on their computer so they could email us. The internet kept going out on them because there were still storms going on, but the following is information we got from Dustin over the course of about an hour and a half.

We are all good but the damage is really bad. We are going to be there doing service for a long time. We have heard that about 75% of Joplin is gone! We were taking point talking to the other elders to see if they are all right. That was fun all the internet is down and phones are a joke. We are just able to get into the city to help out but we can't go out to help until Wednesday because we are going to mission tour tomorrow. It is bad.

I really don't know where to begin. There is just nothing. There was supposed to be another tornado here but it was in the farms.

They think that it was an F4 or F5 which are really rare. There is much to be done here. But my companion says that the tornado was closer to our house than that but we were other side of town and were really far away.

OH, there was another thing that went on that I should say while we are here and able to type. We found a new investigator that is really sweet and is really asking alot of questions. Matt says that he is embarrassed about the markers (scripture crayons) but is really grateful. Well we are going to be cleaning and rebuilding things. I don't know when the church is going to be up there (rebuilt) but there are supplies on the way. I don't know what we are going to be doing and all, but we are going to be working hard. they are bugging me to go and play trumpet for them. lol, these people are old fashioned jazz people they just play and laugh. We are trying to get out of playing with them because we have other things that we need to do. I will have to send you a letter about the new investigator. His name is Francisco from El Salvador.

People here are going crazy here trying to get all the stuff that they need just in case we get another storm. Everyone is jumpy because we have other storms that are going to come through. We have had three just today and we are going to see lots this week they say.

Right now we are getting thunder that is shakin the house every once in a while and lots of rain but the saying is that the Indians even knew that the tornados. There hasn't been one here for a long time, about a hundred years. Just around us and there was not one here, just the one that was coming from Joplin but it went back up to the sky.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dustin has MOVED

We talked to Dustin yesterday for almost two hours. No he doesn't have an accent. He said he might after living in Missouri, they all have very heavy accents. Since he mostly speaks Spanish (he now knows 3-4 dialects) he has only picked up a few southern phrases.

His new companion is Elder Stoddard, the very same one he had in the MTC! They are very excited to get to work together in the field, and were able to go to work right away without going through a "get to know you stage".

Dustin loves the work and the Mexican people there. They are friendly, courteous, kind, and cook really good food. We all had fun talking to him. His new address is:

124 E. Highland #2W
Carthage, MO 64836

Monday, March 28, 2011

9 February 2011


Just a question, can you read this well or do you want me to write in print? (we can read it, or at least I can). Well, guess what! Today is get another snow day and tomorrow will be the same, I think. They are thinking of moving the transfers back a day so the roads will be safe. I am just sad that my companion is going.

We were just talking about “how” we want to come home. I don’t know if I want to be picked up. The church even says that they want us to return home before we come out again to the field if we want. I was thinking that if you were going to come and drive out, then I can drive with you. I can let you know that exact date after the new year (2012) and I don’t want to get trunky. One of the Zone leaders here has 3 months left and he is trunky.

About the GPS, here is my reason for wanting one. I will always cover a Stake, and there are only two Stakes in the mission that are only one city. I asked the Zone leaders how many cities are in my area and he said he can’t even remember. There are seven main cities that I visit and getting lost is not cool. You and Dad can figure out if I need one.

Can you believe that I have been out six months?! I finally have collection of ugly ties that would compete with even Dad’s. It is a tradition for the Spanish missionaries to have a collection of ugly ties. I am sending a package soon, maybe I will put one in there.

Random question. Do you have pictures of when I tried to bite my tongue off? I have never seen if you do. Someone heard about that and asked me today so I was just wondering.

I always feel that I am forgetting to say something in the letters, but it is like a remembrall (this is a Harry Potter reference). You can now you have forgotten something but not remember what it was. Well, I don’t know what else to say. I will have to think of books I want or something for my birthday. Oh, a hint for dad, What we do to remember holidays and birthdays is to make them very bright on the calendar. It works.

Los Amo,


7 February 2011


I really hope that you can recive the videos becuase I have another for you on me conducting a trolley! an one hundred year old trolley! we also went to this really fancy restaurant that a member funded for us and asked us to go and try it out and the food and SHOW were amazing. The food was cooked infront of us on a hibachi! Japanese food! We also got to see our first street preacher from streetpreachers.com lol. He was not accepted at all but we (who were just in the middle of campus taking a break), it was 70 degrees and we were riding bikes all day, so we were just sitting there and a man from the angry mob around the preacher walked straight up to us and sat down at our table. We were about 50 ft from the preacher and we started talking and found out he was a member and after the mob poofed we got a couple more people that were not members come up and they were impressed with the way that we teach and told us were to go to find hispanics. There were other members just coming to shake our hands on their way to class. A lot of good can come from this.


yes I can get video, but I can't watch them at work. they are blocked. Your county has a 90% chance of 3-5 inches of snow and 1/4 inch to 1 inch of sleet. I looked at it this morning. our weather is almost as crazy as here. 70 degrees. what day was that?


friday what is the weather for here is it suppose to be a ice storms?


snow 3-5 inches, ice (freezing rain) and sleet 1/4 - 1 inch, and wind. warning from 6 pm till morning.


cool we have to go and collect wood to burn in our fire place just in case. as the president wishes. Do you just want to make a list of things that you want to take off of the sansa or no becuase I would like to keep whole CDs and I bought CDs to make copies of the CDs that the other misionaries have here. we spend alot of time in the car and that is why i am desperate for new music! ;) What cool things have been happening there?


does your car have a cd player?


our car has a CD player but not a recever plug thing that you asked about in your letter. But the GPS that I have been using is a Garmin nuvi 205 but it needs to be updated. If you start it up there then within 60 days of it making a connection with the sattelittes you can get a free map update. Also the sooner the better because my companion is leaving and I still don't know the area that well. Are you there?


It didn't look like you much from the last storm that came through there. Just a bit icy. Did you end up home bound? The average temp for your area is suppose to be 50°, which you will see by Saturday. and 60° on Sunday. That is nuts!

Do you still have some air borne? Have you gotten a cold from the ups and downs of the weather?

We had a great Stake Conf. The theme was Family. Pres Mickelsen's talk was going over 14 ways to follow the prophet. And twice it was talked about writing down spiritual experiences. I will try and find the quote and send it to you. Missionary and temple work were covered very well too. Just so you know, our missionaries never go unfed here. It is hard to get a turn to have them over. Being in primary we never get the list either, but when JR was being taught, the Sister's told us that we couldn't feed them dinner because they had dinner apts every night.

So, is there 4 or 6 in your apartment?

Are you still teaching? Have you been able to get around? What is your comps name? I don't remember.

Type you at work,



yes there was 2-3 inches of Ice so we did nothing for a grand total of 4 days and yes I have plenty of airborne that Daren and Kathy sent me. There are 4 that live in the apt but there are 6 when there is an Ice storm because they live on the top of a hill and it is too dangerous for them to stay in their house. My companion is Elder Bartholomew and my new companion coming in is Elder Gutierez. He is a native! Tansfers will be on friday because there is supose to be another storm on wednesday. I think you would like it here there are lots of the birds that live right out side of your window. here is a pic. There are so many that they fill the sky and you can see them migrate and the pictuers that you see of bats in a line across the sky is what I can see about once a week. I also sent a picture of that but I don't think that it came out that well.


On the web cam it looked like maybe and inch of ice. I guess that can be decieving. And it goes away just in time for another storm to come.

Where is Gutierez from? Native spanish speaker I get that part


Yes the transfer calls came and I am staying here but my companion is going. :( I really like this one. Sorry about the pics that were sent but I really don't know what happened but every once in a while it just does that for every picture no matter what I do. but I just reset the camera setting and it fixes it. next transfer call are in 6 weeks. I will write a letter and tell you how this is going to work becuase it is very messed up.


So you loose your comp on Friday? By the way, do you HAVE to part your hair? It looks better shaved short.


YES I have a part in my hair we are asked by president to have a part. Why I don't know. Oh Elder Gutierez is an undocumented missionary so I get to drive for the next transfer. I know you would like to see more pictures of me but it is difficult to take good pics of your self. but here is one of me at a Lao Buddhist temple. you may have to have fun with it becuase the monk took the pic.

I think that I am going to try to make the OTM out of pictures and maybe Swanger. Though we figured our how to do that with our hands like a gang sign for missionaries. Because I am staying here I will be able to help out this archaeologist dig up an indian burial site that he thinks he has found. more news on that coming up. He is cool and should be baptized soon. He is going to prove the Book of Mormon true. He has found articles and all of this stuff that has been found and hushed up. Like his tribe that he belongs to used to write on metal plates to preserve their wirtings and the more precious the metal the more important the writtings. cool isn't it.


I is cool. what is otm. Keep taking pics, we like seeing where you are.


I did my first baby blessing! she was only a 1.5 days! that was sunday and also on sunday we settled the debt of one of the families in the ward that needed help. We will be delivering the last check tomorrow. I think that we tried to squish all of the week into day it was a crazy day.


What is an undocumented Missionary? papers not all filled out yet? That is sooo special, to do a baby blessing. Parents are new members?


no part-member family and the member is giving up beer and smoking this week. It was not a real baby blessing. It was a blessing of health. The baby is fine they just wanted to be sure. An undocumented missionary just means that he is not a citizen and does not have a visa. I am on your insurence again? Just a question. are you going to get a camara this week?

I meant are you going to get a GPS this week?


not this week. we haven't decided if you really need one.


K I just hope that my companion will have one otherwise we will get lost. We get lost with a GPS here. The steets are so messed up it is funny and fustrating. Sorry but for now I have got to go. And I will try t get some more pics with me in them.

In the picture is me on the red bed, Elder Brakcken i the black and my companion reading his tracking bible in the PJs.


So, what else do you do when you are stuck indoors for that long?

2 February 2011


I had a great preparation day. We toured a Lao Buddhist Temple. It wasn’t really cool and the person that gave us the tour didn’t speak much English, but he let us take lots of pictures. They have lots of Buddha’s. We also went to the old Fort Smith Museum and the lady behind the counter recognized us because we were showing some other missionaries around and while we were in the gift shop and basically had a war with the wooden guns, the Ranger included,J . We asked her other places that we should go and she suggested the tour of the visitor center.

We took a “G” rated tour of the bordello, which was interesting.

The storm that was supposed to be super bad seems to have melted away. We had to call our District Leader to let them know where we were staying because we were asked to sleep in a house with a fireplace with firewood. But my district, minus the sisters, came to our apartment and six Elders’ in one apartment equals windows steamed and lots of jokes and games.

Before I forget, we have no dinners this week and I know how much it stinks. So, I commit all that read this to sign up to feed missionaries somewhat often.

Please and thank you,

E. Dustin Swanger

Sunday, March 6, 2011

24 January 2011

I am so sore. Dad & I joined club 24 and we did our first work out on Saturday. I forgot how sore you get when you first start out. This week is not going to be fun.
Have you got your schedule straightened out so you can email on Monday’s again? Or are you going to me emailing on a different day?

You are teaching 2 nine yr olds? How do their parents feel about that? Do they sit in on the lessons? Spanish or English? How do you like translating? Are you learning more, faster that way?

The family of GGW are singing in stake conf in a couple weeks. Along with the families: Magelby, Furniss, Deford, and two other families that I don't know. Fun and easy song by Sally DeFord. I know, easy? Yes, this one is and it is not real high at all.

I'm going to have Joe pick out some Mormon tab songs for you. They have a lot of Mo Tab. Gotta get back to work. Short, short day today!

Yah, the schedule is all good and I will almost always be here at 10 or 1030. We are teaching a 11 year and 8 year old. The 8 year old we found his grandpa while walking to an appointment and we started to teach him and his grandson is interested even more that his grandpa. So we are focusing on him. The 11 year old basically the same story except we were just about to drop his dad and then the son was asked if he wanted to listen and at the end of the lesson we asked if the father would want the son to be baptized and he said yes but he need to understand the commitment of doing so. So we are teaching him now. And so yes their parents sit in on the lessons and we teach in both English and Spanish. I have not translated yet. I was going to translate this Sunday but we had a member come up and ask to translate. She is very active in the group and speaks perfect English so we said yes and listened to her translation and compared it to what they were saying in English and that was very cool.

What do you mean the GGW family? all the cousins and all that too? That is fun.

Do you still have my sansa? could you just send that with the cord in the next package? plus the other chop stick. And Joe can just put all the mo tab on there, becuase it is allowed but I love hymnplicity. I am also getting other CDs from members and other Missionaires that they got approved.

This week the mission president is coming down to do a training with the bishops and the ward missionary leaders because they have not been doing their jobs because they don't know how, so the stake has asked for this training. He will probably come to the apartment on Thursday. I like him he is smart and funny.

There is a lot that is allowed that the missionaries can do you just have to ask. there are a lot of movies that are allowed for us to watch like the other side of heaven. We watch that last Monday. We grabbed a TV and the sofas from the foyer and watch it in the gym with popcorn.

Singing: just dad, shaylee, joe, val and I. Those that are in our stake. Do I need to edit what is on the sansa?

no plz don't edit what is on the sansa. I will have some one do that here we have a member that has told us to use her for things like that. but if you really what you can take off things like the simple plan and rockappella. but plz don't take off the classical. I guess you could send me a list of things you want to take off of it and I can approve it. You there today?

Leah: Did JR tell you, his dad, real dad contacted him on facebooK?

Dustin: NO what is going on with that?

oh I orders a D&C DVD set in Spanish and I don't know how but I need to get CTR rings the cheap ones. I just looked on the lds store and they don't sell those there. I really need some like 10 pk English and 10 pk Spanish.

His dad promised his mom that he would contact his kids when they were old enough. I told him to get all the genealogy he can from him. JR said "the Lord works in mysterious ways”. I see it as a blessing because of the timing.

The stuffed animals in the apartment. The Monkey is my companions and the cheer bear is Elder Woodwards. The Streets are very confusing here the people that designed the streets for all the cities here were not thinking. You should tell me how many 5 way intersections there are because I know of 3 or 4 and there are 1 or 2 6 ways. they are crazy!

Leah: AWWWW! Do you need a sleeping buddy? Are you sending me your SD card?

only if it is fun like the monkey. The name is Jorge by the way. There are a lot of missionaries that have bears but with the build a bear everyone is making them and sending them out so they can't send them back. Oh the reason I don't want you to edit the sansa is becuase I can do that here and there is music that no one else has like music therapy. I can put other CDs on there. We have cool members that love doing the music thing.

Sound good. Are you going to go through the ward to get the ctr rings?

I will be sending the SD soon I have to print a lot of pictures still but I am doing that today it is on my shopping list so I don't forget. Did JR tell you about the letter I sent him? The family that I told him about is awesome. They have a huge collection on music stuff, old and fantasy weapons (even from other cultures mainly middle east), and language stuff. They have Persian and Arabic signs all over their walls, and she has a book that she thinks is the first 4 books of the old testament and from the time period. She asked me to translate it because we were talking about languages and that is why she showed us the book, her most prized possession. I am going to get some pictures of it and send them home. We might be eating with her latter this week and I will get the area that the book was found in and the language that she thinks it is in.

She somehow knew that I was doing a tour of the mission right after I end and wants a visit and I have only met her that one time. This had me excited for the rest of the night.

I don't know how she would know that you wanted to do a tour of your mission at the end of it. but i do need to know about the ctr rings are you going to ask the primary president in your ward to order you some?

I might just order some so I can always have them with me. But I could ask the primary president here. She is the person I just told you about.

Leah: If you can't order them, I will.

K you should just do that because I was on the Deseret site and still could not find the pks. Another missionary here says that they have them 10 for a dollar but I can't find them but if you are going to order them from LDS distribution them tell me and I will order them with my discount.
well I have got to be going soon to go shopping. : )
con amor adios

23 January 2011

Dustin finally put a date on a letter.
18 Jan 2011

Hey Ja familio,

You can ask JR what I wrote him. I don’t want to write it all again. I might put it in the e-mail though. We volunteered to help out the young men in our ward with basketball and that was two hours out of our prep-day and so far that has messed everything up. We hardly had room to do anything so we have to do other random things throughout the week. Today we are finishing our laundry and getting our car fixed. Tomorrow we are going to e-mail.

We have one new investigator, that is awesome! His name is Alex. His mom thinks that we are there just to add numbers to our church so today we are going to his basketball game to prove her wrong and to show our dedication. Alex is younger than 10. We are teaching another person about his age. I really like teaching kids, they remember everything and it all seems right to them. I will send a video of my companion. Oh, I like hot sauces’ a lot now! Not as much as my companion. We are on our way back to the apartment for lunch and stopped at this sub store and he got this hot sauce and it is so hot that it has a warning label! It is really hot! But really good. You will think I am crazy but jalapenos are not hot, but are sweet. I like the habaneras sauce that we have to; it is also not very hot. This new stuff is good and HOT.

I know that nothing may have happened and I haven’t read your e-mail yet but one thing I realized is that I am close to my six month mark L. But I am no longer a new missionary as of one month ago. I will send my SD card home on Monday. We are doing a lazy day. We are both really tired and need a relaxing day. One where we are not quite sight seeing all day.

Les amo,

Dustin Swanger

19 January 2011

Let's get caught up.

Answering your questions:

No school today so I will work with Shaylee to get a pic of you singing at Gen. Conf. on their TV.

Already used everything GG Wiberg has for music. Will add Mo. Tab from Shaylee & Joe.

Food for someone needs to go through local priesthood.

GPS $120 + more $ for maps (will think about it) Transmitter - will do for birthday or sooner

New hymn book? haven't heard anything about a new one & checked online - none

B of M with music behind it. not on distribution web site or Deseret book. What we do have is called "Joseph Smith the prophet" recorded live at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. It has readings from the scriptures with music behind it. I will put the first vision one on the ipod so you can see if you want me to send a cd or should I just put it all on the ipod? It is about Joseph Smith's life (very powerful), read from the scriptures.

JR's address: 15 Doe Ln. Townsend, MT 59644

Questions & comments:

DVD's - D & C Resource DVD (Spanish is on back order) or Restoration or both?

Is there other music besides TSO that needs to be removed from ipod?

I went to the bank and asked about your card. Good news, it has not been blocked. You should remember that Shaylee's card didn't work at some cash registers at Wal-mart. When it won't take your pin, run it as a credit purchase. Try typing your pin in slowly, that works for me when a machine won't take my pin. I type it in too fast.

Call 24. Are you calling the 888 number? They said at the bank, that the 888.733.4372 number is the one you use when not in the area. I just tried your call 24 and had not problem. (0328) It is sometimes easier to do if the phone is on speaker. Let me know if you want me to change your pin. My guess is that you were calling the 509 number.

I'm going to renew the New Era for JR, so let me know if you want me to order one or both DVD's for you. I will have them sent directly to you.

Is there 4 elders in your apartment? So there are 4 of you re-opening the area?

When I get some pics developed, I will send you the latest pic of Tori. She hasn't changed much at all. Gotten funnier though. She does a funny monkey face.

Joe is doing a lot of Subbing again. He really likes being able to to do that.

Shaylee and I are learning a new form of art called zentangle. It is really just doodling. I will send you an example. I want to do my own valentine cards.

Dad and I are still getting compliments on our talks from last week, so I guess we did good. Dad and I are also working on getting better about going to the temple. Once a month for sure, but I hope to go more often than that.

Sorry this turned out so long, I tried to keep everything brief.

Love ya,


i think that the TSO is just the only thing that has to be yanked out of the ipod and i have heard the joseph smith story with the music and i like it. i didn't know how much the Gps is but really would be useful. we are constantly stealling the other elders GPS in the apartment. yes there are 4 of us here but we are re-opening the spanish work in this area the other elders were still there becuase they are the zone leaders.

Is the transmitter part of the Gps? soory but my shift is not working on this computer. there are no others:( yes it is the D&C resouce dVD. we use it a little when we teach some English people but can't otherwize. From Shay for the music I REally want the hymnplicity. It is beautiful. are you there today?

pics i hope they are of me lol cemitary i was looking at the recent graves. (my companion had my camara because his died) plus a pic of me companion at a good restuarante, armadillo

The old fort smith stuff, scary at first. I think that the food is going up in quality.

the armaillo video

almost hafl of the spanish missionaries,again my companion a little better picture. i did this to take the pictures off of my companions card. this one and the last two emails.

We think that jabeneros are weak! and really wierd they are sweet! this is all i need to make my mouth burn of the new crazy hot stuff that we got. so hot it has a warning label. we want 357 maddog. that is the hottest in the world and it would last us all the rest of our mission. This is our collection and all are weak even the habenero! lol i am crazy.

January 11, 2011

La Familio,

Sorry for the small letter, well the online one, but today we were grounded because of ice on the road so we didn’t go to the library. We just went to the office of the apartments and used their spare computer. We were trying to be short so I just read all of the e-mails and am writing instead. We have all of the elders of the district here. We just had the best home-made pizza. My comp can cook and the other elders in the apartment, and we are playing cards and ping pong. We are not the only ones that go crazy. We really like the music but I will send the ipod home with a list of approved songs and albums.

There is someone that doesn’t have food. He has been being taught for at least a month and the last time that we were over he broke down in tears because he has no food.

We have a lot of non-members come to church and have been coming for a long time. The companion that I am with now, and I might as well have been siblings.

I have random questions for you. I have heard of the church coming out with a new hymn book. Is that true? And if so, is “Come Thou Fount” in it or “Amazing Grace”? Can I get a copy of the D&C DVD’s in Spanish, they are somewhat new. We got some from the mission bit it is only in English. It is a great teaching tool.

We had stake conference and the Prophet spoke. It was a broadcast, but he said that those who do not magnify their calling will be held accountable for the people that they could/would have helped. And another person said that as a church we are too careless as to playing video games. He said we need to remove distractions and he listed things like; X-box, Playstation, and Wii need to be used with even more caution and stuff like that.

I am writing a lot today. We went to our dinner because it was not far and still have several hours before bed. …

Les amo

Dustin Swanger

10 January 2011

Will send letter no time becuase we are grounded for the day.
les amo bye

We were worried that Dustin, his companion or someone in their apartment did something to get them "grounded". All that happened is that they got about 3 inches of freezing rain and they were not allowed to go anywhere. So they were grounded to the apt. We got his letter the very next day...
So what day to you get to email in this area? Tell me about the storm that ended or began the new year.
Tori is walking good now. We (dad and I) spent a couple days there after Ensign Ranch. Alisha is showing, we find out what she is having in a couple days.
New Years eve we went to Diana and Matt's bon fire till about 8pm and then went home to bed. We had just gotten home a couple hours earlier from Alisha and Marc's.
Are you and your comp getting along?
We are going to have to start a map of where the storms hit aren't we? Did you have a tornado warning go off?
Are you two assigned to wards or the whole stake?
Did you get an email from Nichole?
Are you going to have a set time that you are on your email?
Sorry, lots of questions. We had fun talking to you on Christmas!
Love you,

Yes my comp is awesome and we are going to have a great transfer. We are re opening an area and have like nothing to do but are working really hard to find people that we can teach. No that was not in my area but we did get the thunder after the storm. The energy was almost gone by the time it hit us. yes the time that I am going to emailing is the same and I liked answering questions. I work over the whole stake but have a ward that I am to go to for church. I am in an english ward with a spanish group and we have to translate for them but not this sunday because testimony meeting was seperate. don't have time will send letter got alot of emails today.

Well did you get any of the tornado that went between the new area and your old area? Or did you get you first real actual warning?
The new year is here and things are starting to get back to normal, school and work starts again,
Tori, Alisha's daughter is real fun to play with she has real personality, mom should have pictures.
It is real cold here lately, Leah now understands why you need ear muffs and scarfs to keep warm.
How was your first holiday season in the mission field?
Love dad

The first holiday was Thanksgiving but Christmas was fun because we were at the members house all day because they adopted us and we played games and talked and just had a good old time. They spoke english so I could actually have non gospel conversations. but My new companion has been studying spanish for 6 or 7 years before and I am learning super quick from him and he is teaching me all sorts of vocab. oh there is some really funny anti around here. and there is one person that I met that says that his tribe makes plates of metal to write on! that is cool and really believes everything! some time I will be cuting stones with him. It is his tradition with the missionaries.

27 December 2010

Dustin: Yes I am moving to another place in Arkansas called Fort Smith here is the address.


9500 Meandering Way APT 10

Fort Smith, AR 72903

don't send things to the last address!

Oh just a random thought ask Darren and Kathy if they know an Elder Rieske, becuase he thinks that he remembers them. He saw a picture of them that they sent me for Christmas.

Hey I still need a pic of me from general conference. I got a gift that is awesome from elder Tarati. He gave me a lava lava and it is a map of his country! I will send a picture or maybe it home one of these days. This week was really slow because everyone and their dogs were out of town and most out of the country visiting families and barely got 10 lessons in. that is a low number for the Spanish but average for the English. Oh I am being shotgunned into this next area but my new companion has been there before.

Les amo,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Christmas Day

Pete, Leah, Valerie, Shaylee and Joseph gathered around my (Leah's) cell phone talking to Dustin. We got to talk to him for about an hour. He had just a hint of an accent.

Dustin's Christmas

Dustin is putting the lights on their Christmas tree.

20 December 2010


What time do you want to call us? Morning or evening?


Because we are doing service in the morning it will be in the afternoon here. We might be coming over to the member’s house maybe around 2 but I think it will be a little later. Are you going to be home for Christmas?


We are going to be at ensign ranch


Yesterday we had to move the date of the people that we are teaching that are golden. It made me sad. I'm sorry I DON'T HVE A LOT TO write about today . I Love you and the rest of the family.


When do you want to call us


Is there anything that you want to know about?


Just when you want to call us


It will be after 12 your time but I don't know because we are doing service in the morning. They estimate that it will end around 1130 my time but then we were asked to lunch over at a members house after that for a thank you lunch and then we will open the presents and after we will go to the members house to call you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

13 December 2010

Dustin-PB is Patriarchal Blessing, or benediction patriarchal. I found out that we are going to be at a members house from maybe 12 to 4 on Christmas, if you want to send me a time that you would like me to call around then would be great. I am going shopping today right after our normal shopping to get some Christmas gifts. I will hopefully find a good place to take a picture and sent you a Christmas picture. Also an Elder here in my apartment is just going to have the gifts that the president of the mission gave him for Christmas and the Christmas card that we got from the first presidency for Christmas. I thought that was really sad. And JR told me that he talked to you and I know that I am going to hear it on Christmas when I call or even sooner in a letter but I will wait to tell the story over the phone.

I am going to try to find something that is unique to this area to sent you for Christmas and we are going to the mall today so that shouldn't be that hard. More Ideas for Christmas is ear muffs, scarf (the gator messes up my hair and it is not easy to fix once it is dry), wool socks. It is cold and the wind here as everyone says has teeth.

Leah-About the cold there, I will see if anyone needs ideas for you still before I go and get some for you.

Dustin-I had the traditional cookies already! Someone gave the other elders in my apartment peanut butter blossoms and they let me eat most of them. I don't know if they just didn't like them or what but those cookies are only made on special occasions. I am companions with the district leader and so I get the privilege on getting to know everyone by way of exchanges. There are a lot of really strange people, but to my surprise they have about the same hobbies as I did before my mission or really want to start doing things like what I did. My companion even cut stones on P-day in his last area. Not the same way as I did.

The best thing about the exchanges is that I am learning Spanish so much faster and learning the area really well. This week I might have 2-4 exchanges and this would be the first time that I am leaving the area. Zone Leader exchanges are the most fun. I don't really know why but this week I really don't know what to say.

Leah-Do we need to send extra stuff for the elder in your apartment?

Leah- Does that elder need ear muffs and scarf too?

Dustin-That would be cool if you did but that is up to you. I need a calendar for the year and If you got one that is tropical I think that He would love it.

Dustin-Cool I think that you are an awesome MOM but you are my only mom. lol what did JR tell you?

Leah-He is doing good there. His Mom should be there for Christmas! She won a lot of money in the divorce. He wishes he could come see us.

What does your needy elder need. What is his name?

Dustin-Elder Tarati. His family sent a package but he thinks it is just a normal package of letters from the people on his Island and they sent it on the beginning of the month so It won't get here until after the new year. What did JR tell you about what I asked him for Christmas, if he told you he hinted that he did.

Dustin-He is planning on getting a scarf but I can work with the other elder (his companion to stop him) if you want to get one for him. There are no earmuffs here we checked. So, yes for the second.

Leah-okay, we will send 2 sets.

Leah-Oh, now I know what you are talking about. I will see what I can do, but you shouldn't be even thinking about that till you get home!

Dustin-I woke up one morning and had the impression that I should be writing her but I only think about that on P-day. I am too busy the rest of the time to think about anything else. I do all the paper work every night because my companion isn't there a lot of the time at the appointment that I am doing the paper work on (exchanges) and I am always busy with something. I can tell you the rest of the story over the letter.

Dustin-oh just for fun. to be snotty. Dad wrote you while he was on a mission and married you (not the person that he started off writing) Why can't I write some one? Besides that If I don't get the address then I am sure that at least one elder would write you and ask for you to send it to me. The other elders call their girls a motivation and I don't really agree with that but ya.

Leah-Yea, okay, what ever

Dustin-I thought you would like that. just because I am running out of things to write.

Leah-What time do you want to call us. Morning or evening?

Dustin-OK my time is up I got to go. Love and bye for now. and I will tell you the story later.

Dustin-The result of our accident last week and where I was at this week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

7 December 2010


First to answer your questions from your last two letters.
Leah - Are you and your companion getting along?
Dustin - We are both a little shy so we are trying to communicate better. He is from the same zip code, not city, as Elder Holmes. He plays trombone, been out for 16 months, and his girlfriend has been faithful...so far.

Leah - Were the other Elders in the apartment happy to see you get a cookbook?
Dustin - Yes! Everyone here went through it. We haven't used it to cook from yet, but it is great. Yes, I have been brave in eating different things. Something that is really good is putting sausage and eggs in mac & cheese.

For Thanksgiving we went to a members for dinner. We actually had a great appointment with Martin Y Yolanda. Then we had another dinner at one of the other Elder's members house. During the day because it was Thursday, we did weekly planning.

I just saw the mailman go the other way, so we will see if I got the package and the envelope today. The package is fun. Elder Tarati wants to decorate the tree. The tie is awesome! The first red tie that I have. What is up with the one chopstick again?? I thank you for thinking about me. Ok, the snowflakes melted together but they came apart somewhat easily. The plastic candy canes are cool. I

With love, Dustin

6 December 2010

I don't really have Ideas for myself like always and for my companion I think that recesses peanut butter cups would be good for him. He is running low on candy. You could ask Dad some of the things that he got or even Joe. I hope that there are pictures in the package. There is another picture that I would like. Of Joe. because of a suggestion from the people that run the MTC, I would like a picture of him with his cane and sunglasses on. It is part of the new teaching suggestion that they are asking that we use example of everything that are more personal to us and our family. And it is even in my PB (patriarchal blessing).

The running is good. I am going to put my bike in the bike shop because I let another elder use it until he got his from home and he crashed and messed up the tires and shifters and I have no idea how to fix it. I was going to use my card today to get a pillow, but I will wait till I get my new card. When he ( Dustin's companion) goes out jogging I ride his bike. I can't keep up and still don't want to run so that was the compromise. Please mark packages that are for Christmas that they are for Christmas so I can put them under the tree.

First part

I would have been here typing earlier but in the parking lot we were hit by another car and the forms that we had to fill out took a long time. I really feel sorry for him because right after we got done filling out the paper work he tried to pull out again and hit another car.

The people that I am really happy that we met is Martin and Yolanda. On the second visit with them Yolanda said that she will quit her job so she can go to church, and her husband has rearranged his horario so he can come to church too. The branch want to have them baptized before the end of the year so that they can meet their goal of 10 baptisms this year. I don't think that we will be able to teach them everything that we have to before Christmas. That’s when the branch has already planed the baptism. A White Christmas is what they are calling it and if they are not going to have a baptism then there is another activity that they have planed that is centered on baptism for them to go to. My companion is going on exchanged because he is the District leader and I will be teaching them solo. Well there is a member that will be going out with me but I will be the only missionary that speaks Spanish.

We are going to try to have the Christmas picture taken today to send out so That is why I need the addresses of the grandparents. Hey try Takis they are really good Fuego is the best flavor. They are hispanic chips basicly

*Leah asked, “how is your Spanish now?

intiendo mas cada dia, poco a poco. tengo menos un minute (more every day, little by little. I have about a minute)


oh yea. Who was over at the Wiberg’s and who was in the picture that you sent me. It is crazy that you got so much snow. I just asked for an idea for Christmas and no one has an Idea. Elder Tarati says candy, lol. He loves chocolate. Hey would Val like to have someone to be a pen pal with because there are a lot of people here that are trying to learn English. You can write Santiago Castillo. This is what Elder Tarati says: "neico" that is what he calls me because I call him "mijo". They both mean like my son or something like that.

NO tengo tiempo entonces.

Con mi amor, tu hijo

Dustin Swanger