When I first visited Commissioner Barry Swanson’s office at Territorial Headquarters, it was clear that he had already begun to make his mark.
His office was modestly appointed. Family photos adorned a bookcase near a scenic picture window.
A large and imposing crosspiece of carved wood hanging on the wall caught my attention. It had two thick metal rings attached to it. After further examination, I realized I was looking at a real oxen bow yoke, traditionally used by farmers. Affixed below it and sealed under Plexiglas were words from Matthew 11:29–30: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” — Jesus.
A second wall hanging appeared to be a brass plaque upon which the words ANCORA IMPARO were engraved. I later learned that the phrase came from Renaissance painter and inventor Michelangelo. And they meant, “Still, I am learning.”
Indeed, Swanson’s quest for learning took him out of the office and into the territory, where he formulated a plan for “Strikepoint,” an initiative that stirred the development of projects that focused on one or more of four Strikepoints —“Integrated Mission,” “Young Adult Empowerment,” “Skilled Leadership,” and “Deeper Discipleship.”
“It’s been such an honor to be the leaders of this territory,” says Swanson. “It’s such a wonderful place. We have so many resources to apply to the mission and to the Kingdom work. One day, someone asked me, ‘what’s the best appointment you’ve ever had?’ I thought; every appointment has been good. And there’s no appointment that we haven’t learned something from. And then I replied, ‘Truthfully, there is no other appointment that I would’ve rather had than where I am today.’”