Staff Report

Solvang resident Elijah Swolgaard,18, will be serving a mission for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission in the South American country of Chile. 

Swolgaard moved to the Santa Ynez Valley from Bainbridge Island, Wash., when he was 3 years old. 

His parents are Scott and Elizabeth Swolgaard, a physical therapist with New Motion PT. There are five boys in the family, with Elijah being the oldest. His grandparents are Bill and Alice Beifuss, also of Solvang.

Elijah’s parents both served missions for the church in their youth. His mother served in the Manilla (Philippines) Mission and his father in the San Salvador Mission in El Salvador.

Swolgaard attended the SYV Presbyterian Preschool, Los Olivos Elementary School and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. At SYHS, he played volleyball and ran cross country and belonged to Conservatives on Campus and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also enjoys surfing. 

To financially support his mission, Swolgaard works as a handyman. He likes to work outside with his hands and learn new things.

Swolgaard says he loves his family and when he’s not working, he loves to be with them. He calls himself a “homebody” and says that when he’s home with his family he always has a best friend.

Swolgaard left for the Mission Training Center in Mexico City, Mexico, on March 10 and will be there for six weeks. While there, he will learn Spanish and how to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people in Chile. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is represented by missionaries in 160 countries. Young men, young women and seniors go all over the world to share the Gospel of Christ with those who are interested in learning about the Savior and his mission here on the earth. They not only teach the Gospel, but they live it as well in that up to 20 hours of each week they are involved in service, of all kinds, in their communities

When asked why he wanted to serve a mission, Swolgaard said that the Lord has helped him in his life so much that he wants to bring others to that knowledge and happiness. He wants everyone to have the knowledge and light of the Savior. 

Swolgaard’s bishop, Jonathan Paulson, shared that “Elijah has a very strong testimony of Jesus Christ. Elijah is a shining example to everyone who comes in contact with him. It has been a pleasure for me to be his Bishop for the past five years. “ 

Swolgaard has looked forward to serving this mission his whole life and has a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. He is excited to share that knowledge with the people of Vina del Mar.