Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Flight to the Philippines

So Tanner flew out to the Philippines on Thursday August 7th.  He called us that morning from the SLC airport. It was good to hear from him after 6 weeks and he was excited to finally be on his way to the Philippines.  He was flying to Detroit, then Japan and then to Manila.  Basically over 24 hours of travel time.   Unfortunately, our call got cut off and that was the last we heard from him for the next 11 days. We were able to track his flight online so we know it got to Manila safely.  We trusted he was safe and that he was in good hands, but we had no idea where he was.  For the next 6 days all of us were anxious and eagerly awaiting any confirmation that he was ok.

Finally on Wednesday of the next week, we got the attached letter from his Mission President when he arrived at the mission home.

Dear Family of Elder Swensen,

We are happy to let you know that your son arrived safely today as a missionary in the
Philippines Cauayan Mission. After his arrival we had a welcome luncheon and orientation
meeting. I also had the opportunity to have a wonderful interview with him before he met his
prayerfully selected companion and trainer.

Elder Swensen will be serving in Ilagan. Enclosed is a map on which we have marked the
location of his first proselyting area. He will be working with Elder Bautista who will carefully
train and introduce Elder Swensen to missionary work in the field. We encourage you to write
your son every week. Please share positive, uplifting messages that will support and help him
stay focused on this sacred work. Such contact from home can build a great foundation for a
successful mission.

This is a wonderful mission and we are grateful to have Elder Swensen here. The new
missionaries always bring with them an exciting and special spirit. Please know that we will
watch over him with great concern. We have been praying for him for several months now and
have looked forward to serving together. We know that with your support and encouragement,
he will progress and strengthen beyond your expectations and develop a great love for his fellow
missionaries and the precious people he will serve, teach, and bless.

May the Lord bless you for all you have done to help Elder Swensen prepare for this mission.

With warmest regards,
President George R. Rahlf
Sister Lori C. Rahlf

What a relief that letter was.  Apparently he stayed at the Manila MTC for a few days until he flew to Cauayan on Wednesday.  Attached were the following photos of his Mission President and his wife, his new companion, Elder Bautista, and a map of his new area, Benito Soliven in the Ilagan Zone.




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