Monday, September 4, 2017

We can´t go to the beach, but the beach came to us!

Hola everyone! Como están?

This is gonna be a little short for this week, but I´m doing great and working hard! This is the last week of the transfer, if you can believe it! 

We got absolutely soaking wet this week thanks to a couple of GIANT tropical storms that blew our way. We were just casually walking and the sky suddenly turned black and started to pour! We felt super cool because we helped a guy push his car out of a river (aka the flooded streets) The plastic shoes I bought before I left are definitely coming in handy. We were joking that the beach came to us, because there were tiny little waves in the water and we were basically swimming, haha! With the humidty it was a little stressful because all of my scriptures got wet and I feel like they will never ever dry, but I guess I´ve just joined all of the other missionaries here that have wrinkled scripture pages. The good news is that it has been super cool! I actually used a sweater! 

This friday we had our Mission Activity where we did a mini CCM and taught the members how to share the gospel with their friends. Not very many people went because of the rain, but it was super fun! We also said goodbye to a joven from the barrio that´s leaving on his mission. It got everyone in the spirit of missionary work. 

The other day we went and contacted in the other area, Kohunlich, to help them find more people to teach. The companionship that took out the most references got free pizza! So today we went out for pizza with the Sister Training Leaders. Super fun. 

We were named the "Converzona" for the month! Or the Zone that had the most baptisms in the month of August. It´s so exciting and we´re hoping to do it again in September! The baptisms are more than just numbers, but a little competion never hurts to motivate us. :)

Today we found a lizard in our washing machine (first of all, it is such a blessing that we have a WASHING MACHINE. We washed everything in one load and it was freeeeee!) Anyway, we found a lizard and I was the only one of us three that was brave enough to get it out. It was just a little guy, but you can see in the picture that it looks like his tail got cut off and was re-growing. Creepy, huh?

I´ve been reading Jesus the Christ together with the Bible this week and it´s super interesting! With the rain, my biggest thought has been how Christ walked on the water and calmed the storms. Peter is like all of us, we start out with faith and sometimes we fall. I testify that our Savior is there with his hand outstretched to save us in the moment that we falter. He loves and and can calm the storms! I love the hymn, Paz, Calmense. Don´t remember what it´s called in English, but it´s been in my head lately. 

I hope you all have a great week! Tell me all about your adventures this Saturday and stay tuned to see if we have transfers! Love you all mucho!

Hermana Schwartz 














Monday, August 28, 2017

The Three Amigas

Hola everyone!

Estamos trabajando en TRIO! I´ve got two new compañeras and they are amazing!! Hermana Flores is from Utah and has 10 months in the mission, and Hermana Lara is from Monterrey, Mexico, and has one month in the field. She´s in her training, so even though I´m not her mamá, I get to help out a bit. She and Hermana Flores are so funny together, because Hna Flores is very sweet and passive, and Hna Lara has a strong personality and is super sarcastic. I love them, haha! I´ve never worked in a trio before, but I kinda love it because we can go on splits with the members and go to more appointments. They´re such great girls and powerful missionaries, and I know we´re going to work really hard in the time we have together. 

We changed houses this week and the move went really well! A member came with a truck and we loaded up EVERYTHING and got it all over in one trip. We´re living in a gated community called Mallorca, and it´s super fancy. Our house is a bit of a fixer upper, but we´re arranging things and I´m excited for how it´s going to turn out. We had our mission leader pass by to bless the house and it was the coolest experience because we all felt such a huge difference after he blessed it. We could feel the spirit so much more. We also want to paint the walls because right now they´re super dark gray and it´s just really dark at night. We want white walls with lots of pictures of Christ and the temples!! :) 

We worked a lot with Carlos´s mom this week, her name is Carmen. She´s so sweet! (Even though she just paints on her eyebrows and they´re super skinny, haha!) We also found a wonderful investigator named Maria. I felt the impression to talk to her in the street, and she invited us to come by and visit her. We sang a hymn with her in the street, and the next day when we passed by she said she felt such a difference after the hymn. Before she felt tired, stressed, and weighed down by the world. After she felt at peace. I know that this is the Spirit!! It lifts us up and helps us carry on! We can feel this way anytime we honestly invite the Lord to be part of our lives. I´m learning how to listen to the Spirit. I´m not perfect in following the impressiones, but the results are so amazing when we trust in what we feel is right. 

We also got to help in a stake activity to teach niños how to do little things that will help them later in their missions! I taught how to sew a button, my companeras taught how to iron, and the elders taught how to tie a tie. It was so cute! Later the kids made the lunch so they could learn how to cook and we ate delicious roll sandwhiches and apple slices. :)

Today is Hermana Lara´s birthday so we made her pancakes and Hermana Flores made them so cute! They each had a letter for our names. We´re going to go to the Grand Plaza in a little bit to celebrate. I´ve never been there but I´m excited because we have permision to see a little bit more of Cancun! 

I don´t really remember anything else exciting that happened this week, but I know that this is the Lord´s work and I´m so grateful to be a part of it! Take five minutes to stop and feel the spirit. It´s something that we really can do everyday and it will make all the difference in the world. 

I love you all! Gracias for all of your support and prayers!​


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Silver Linings, Miracle Sodas, and BAPTISMS!

Okay, where to begin? How have you all been? I know school is starting up again and I hope everyone is doing well with that! This week has been one of the most impactful of my entire mission, to date. I´ve got lots of stories so sit down, buckle up, and enjoy. :)

First of all, it´s been super crazy "training" and teaching Hermana Beckstead the area. She basically came here very well trained, so basically we just talk about how she´s been feeling, laugh, and work hard. But it´s really shown me how much I do know the area. I prayed before she got here that I could get to know the area better, and let me tell you, God answers prayers. He sent me the biggest test of all, having to navigate everything and teach it to someone else! In short, we got lost a lot this week. But that led to some pretty cool miracles. The other day when we were coming back from our district meeting, we got totally lost on the way to our lunch appointment. I totally forgot where the member lived! And we had been fasting in the morning so that all of the investigators with fechas bautismales could get baptized. In short, we were hot, hungry, thirsty, and lost! I started to feel super bad, because I honestly had no idea where to go. We stopped in the shade and I was literally trying not to cry, and a guy passed by us and said "buenas tardes." He suddenly came back a few seconds later, and said, "Excuse me, I just really feel like you could maybe use a cold drink." He just happened to have two cold sodas that he was carrying, and he gave them to us for free! I just thanked him and started crying because it was literally exactly what we needed in that moment. I felt an outpouring of my Heavenly Father´s love and I knew that he was aware of us and willing to help us. We were able to find the relief society presidents house, and from there we got directions and made it to lunch. I will never forget this experience. I know that God hears our prayers, it´s just "usually through another person that he meets our needs." 

It was also super beautiful, because we were wandering around trying to find new people to teach, and we saw the most beautiful silver lining. The sun behind the clouds literally made it look like silver! I´ve never seen anything like that, and it was a great reminder of how any situation has a bright side. 

We were immensely blessed this week because we found a CASA! The elders from our ward talked to a member that´s less active, and he´s moving to Ukraine of all places! And he just wants someone to stay in his house and take care of it while he´s gone for a few years!! It´s a beautiful house that we could never afford, but he´s giving it to us and we just need to pay for water and light. It´s literally the answer to so many prayers and I feel so blessed that we will be able to stay there! He´s also leaving all of his furniture and the cupboards full of food. Hallelujah!

BUT the highlight of the week by far is that SAMMY AND CARLOS BOTH GOT BAPTIZED!! I´m so excited!!!! Here´s how it happened. First of all, Samantha is just an angel child. Her parents are less active members, but she and her sister wanted to start going to church. So they go with her grandparents. Her family contacted us, organized everything, and we taught her all of the lessons in literally just a week. And she understands everything perfectly! She passed the baptism interview with flying colors, got baptized in the white dress her grandma got sealed in, and is the most precious convert I´ve ever had the privelige to teach. The Lord put her in our path and it was amazing. 

And then there´s Carlos! He´s my favorite too. He´s 16 and super shy, but from the first visit he´s been willing to read, act, and pray. His prayers literally melt my heart because he prays that he will have a good life and never fall in bad paths. I know that Heavenly Father is so proud of him for his good decisions and will bless him. We were so worried that he wouldn´t be able to get baptized because he traveled and couldn´t make it to church on Sunday. But everything worked out! We visited his half sister, who told us that he got home early! And then we went with him, asked if he wanted to keep working for the 18th of August, and he said yes! From there, we were finally able to contact his mom and she gave her permision! 

Anyway, so this week was just one little miracle after another. I can´t even describe how amazing it is to be a part of this work. I´m so grateful for all of the opportunites that God gives us to serve, to learn, and to grow. 

Hermana Beckstead is probably going home this week, but she has been an amazing companion and I´m so grateful for her! I know that all of the miracles happened so that she could have the best possible experience here and that God has a plan for her. She´s that best. Mucho amor para ella. 

Well, I´m out of time but thank you all for your love and support! Have an excellent week and never doubt that God loves you, knows you, and will answer your prayers!

Hasta luego,
Hermana Schwartz

PS. I finally tried cow stomach and it´s super nasty! And we made a tres leches cake and it was very delicious. Two very different Mexican foods. I´m sure you can tell which one I prefer. ;)​


















Friday, August 18, 2017

Oreo Therapy

Hello family and friends!! It was an exciting and fulfilling week in Cancún, hope that all of you are doing well!!

I got to go to Playa del Carmen this week, just to say goodbye to Hermana Christensen and pick up my new compañera! It was so tempting to see all the touristy stuff that we´re definitely not allowed to do, haha! But Hermana Beckstead is here now and she´s so great! She´s almost as tall as me! Can you believe it!! We definitely draw a ton of attention walking down the streets. Everyone tries to talk to us in English until they realize we´re both fluent en Espanol.

I definitely am realizing how much I know the area and at the same time how much i have to learn. I´m super grateful for another cambio here and I know that we´re going to see miracles! Everytime we get a little lost we take a selfie. I´ll just say we have quite a few selfies, but it´s all good! I´m grateful for my compas patience with me. The day before the cambio I literally prayed that I could be able to learn the area better, and what better way to learn than to teach it to someone else, right? God really does answer our prayers!! Other small experience--the phone was lost and we had no idea where it was, because our house was so clean! We prayed and within 2 minutes a random investigator texted us and we heard the phone! It was so great, and I was so grateful. :)

We have 2 investigators that are going to get baptized this week! If everything goes well, Carlos should be super prepared, and we started teaching Samantha! It was literally a miracle. Her mom is less active but she´s started going to the church with her abuela and her sister. She basically knows everything, so we´ve just been passing over the lessons. We set a date for her baptism for this friday. At first it seemed like it would be way too soon, but her family planned everything and she´s totally gonna be ready! Wahooo! We´re so pumped, and she´s so cute. Her hair is seriously like Rapunzel, it goes down almost to her legs!

Our district leader gave us the best advice ever. Since Hermana Beckstead was feeling a little sick and a little stressed, he told us to go out to the store, buy Oreos and peanut butter, and just sit in a room with air conditioning for a half hour. It was the best!! There is a time to work and a time to rest. We can´t run more than our own strength, and that´s important to remember. I loved our little Oreo break.

We´re working hard to find new people, to stay happy and to trust in the Lord!
He doesn´t worry about our abilities, just our willingness! He really does qualify us to fulfill with every commandment and every trial.

I love you all so much! Until next week!
Hermana Schwartz


Monday, August 7, 2017

Exciting Stuff!!!

Hola everybody, how´s it going?

Good news! We found a casa! We fasted for the beginning of the month that we would be able to find something, and that afternoon a less active member that we visited told us she is renting an apartment! It´s outside of our area, but only one block outside of the limit. We have permission to go live there and it´s lovely! It´s the top floor and has a few rooms, running water, and all of the windows! (In comparison to the other houses we saw, it really is an answer to prayer!) Our other options were tiny, not safe, and/or missing windows, sinks, etc. :) I´m excited and we´ll be moving over there next monday! 

I also have some kind of crazy news. We´re having cambios! Hermana Christensen is going to Cozumel with a missionary from my generation, and I´m going to stay here in Kukulcan...training another hermana! Her name is Hermana Bexter from Utah. I haven´t met her yet, but on Wednesday I get to go meet her. She only has 6 weeks in the mission so I have to show her the ropes. I´m a little nervous because I am so far from perfect, but I´m excited for the opportunity to help her out! 

Fun things that happened this week were that we got to pick guayas and it was a blast! We chopped down the tree branches with machetes and then gathered the fruit with our Maya teacher, hermana Pauilita. Good times. We also got to try really weird new fruit called a "lichi." We went to an appointment with the Young Single Adult leaders, and they brought us pizza, soda, and these weird little hairy red lichi fruit. And they are delish. It tastes like an exotic grape! That´s the only way I can describe it. 

And guess whaaatt....Carlos went to church!! He´s literally the best. He was gone all week and he still remembered about church on sunday! He showed up in a nice button up shirt and even said the prayer in sunday school! So excited for him. 

We got to see the beautiful baptism of a family that technically lives outside our ward but assists in our chapel. The other misioneras taught them but we got to go to their baptism and it totally motivated us! Vanessa, Azul, and Celeste were so happy and they´re now prepping to be sealed to their family in a year! Whoo! 

A bunch of hermanas finished up their missions, and we got to say goodbye to them. 

My trainer, Hermana Medrano, also came and stayed one day with us in Kukulcan! Her new area is in cancun, so she´s in my zone now! It was so fun to see her again and show her around my new area. She´s awesome.

I finished the Book of Mormon and I know that it is true!!! I read it, and the next day in district meeting we had a testimony meeting about the book of mormon! It just confirmed to me everything I know to hear the other testimonies of other missionaries. It brings so much light, it testifies of Christ, and I know it´s true! And now I´m starting to read the New Testament. I know that we can also obtain a testimony of the Bible. The first few chapters talk about Christ being tempted in the wilderness. Do you know what his strength was when the devil tempted him? Every single time he answered with a scripture. That says so much about how the scriptures can strengthen us. Anyway, just a quick little thought for the day. 

I love you all and hope your week is fantastic! I´m attaching a bunch of pics, but unfortunately I took photos of my comps pictures, so they´re kinda chaffa. (low quality) But enjoy! 

Hasta luego, 
Hermana Schwartz​













Thursday, August 3, 2017

Gonna Be Staying in Cool-Cool-Can!

Hi everyone, Ba'ax ka walik? ("what´s up" in maya)

We received our transfers and Hermana Christensen and I are going to keep working in the wonderful area of Kukulcan! We´re so excited because this area is seriously amazing and we work really well together. I screamed with joy when they told us, haha. I´ve decided that our area should officially be re-named Cool Cool Can, because it´s the coolest. 

So many great things happened this week! We found this one investigator that is progressing so quickly! Carlos is honestly the best! He´s 16 years old, and he and his 8 year old brother are listening to us. We left him the first page of the Book of Mormon to read and he read 9 chapters of 1 Nephi! He also told us that he likes praying because he used to feel really alone, and now he doesn´t. I honestly almost cried with joy. He´s great. 

Another little miracle is that we started teaching a girl named Mari that wears a really big Catholic style necklace and we were so worried that she just wouldn´t accept us. But we taught about baptism, and we invited her to be baptized! She said that if she learns the church is true, she´ll absolutely follow the example of Jesus Christ! She has so much potential, and her faith is so strong!!

My heart melted a little bit this week because we ate with members that had the cuuuutest little girls. One of them, Michelle, really likes this one TV show Peppa Pig. We just so happened to have a sheet of stickers with Peppa Pig on them, and we gave her one and I can truly say that I´ve seen true happiness. She ran around the whole house saying, "Peppa Princesa! Tengo Peppa Princesa!" It was adorable. Another little girl, Aranza, walked down the street with us to buy tortillas for our lunch. She had a lot of fun being a little "missionary" and she made us each a necklace. It was so tiny that I had to put it on my wrist, but I´m gonna keep it forever. 

For those of you who know I don´t like bananas, you´ll be happy to hear that this week I got to eat a whole bunch of them. A family served us a giant plate of bananas for dessert, and I was suffering a little bit. My companion was a gem and tried to help me out by discretely taking a few, but the family noticed and now we´re pretty sure they think she´s a dessert thief that stole poor Hermana Schwartz´s bananas. 

Speaking of food, we ate with a family for 3 HOURS one day. Normally our lunch appointments are an hour, but they just kept giving us stuff! They finished off by giving us a mountain of candy to take to our house, from different states of mexico. Some of it was really good, but some was just weird! There are some really good ones that are just little bland seed cakes, but we can´t seem to stop eating them....I´ll put a photo. 

We have the promise from the Familia Chan Ku that we´re going to eat menudo tonight! I´m mildly terrified! I don´t really want to eat cow stomach...but cuando en Mexico, I guess!

Oh, I also put a video of when we washed one of my skirts! We wash stuff by hand sometimes, and this one skirt had a lot of dye! The water was running black and it looked super creepy, so we took a video! Needless to say, the skirt faded quite a lot. But it was really fun to wash it, haha!

I´m going to finish reading the Book of Mormon this week! My goal is to finish by the end of August and I´m determined to do it! One idea is to just to read 3 Nephi, if you need a good place to read. It´s beautiful and talks about when Christ came to the Americas. His teachings are so clear and powerful. I know that he´s our Savior, that he lives and loves us, and that the Book of Mormon testifies of him!! 

Photos:

1. Video of the skirt washing
2. A popular phrase here is "Planchar," or "Ironing." They use it in the context of "roasting." My companion is really good at planching people. ;)
3. The baptisms we have planned!!! 
4. Weird seed candy
5. With Hermana y Hermano Moo
6. In a district meeting! We take this work very seriously 

Love you all!! Have a great week!
Hermana Schwartz

video













Monday, July 24, 2017

Running Through Cancun!

Wow, what a week! The transfer is flying by, and I am so excited to say that we have 11 (ELEVEN!) people with baptism dates!! Of course, that doesn´t mean that all of them will necessarily be baptized, but it´s very exciting nevertheless! Our district leader challenged us to put baptism dates in the first visits with EVERYONE, and at first we were a little terrified, tbh. But it turned out so cool and we had some awesome experiences! It´s an amazing way to see who is actually interested and who isn´t.

Hands down the coolest experience was that we got to have a lesson with Max, Monica´s husband. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and he just ate it up. He was just like, "I´ve never heard anything about this in my life, but it´s amazing." We told him about the steps we need to take in this life to reach the celestial kingdom, including baptism, and we invited him to be baptized. And he said YES!!! People, he´s basically an atheist! But he said he would do everything possible to gain a testimony and be baptized. We left the lesson with a fist pump and just giggling because we were so happy and the spirit was so strong. It was also 9:30 and we were supposed to be in our house at 9:00, so we LITERALLY ran back to our house. Our bugspray and sunscreen and all that good stuff kept falling out and we were sweating so much, but we got back safe and just said a prayer of gratitude. 

It´s gonna be hard work to get Max baptized, it might even take a miracle (Princess bride reference...ish, haha!) But I know it´s possible! 

I´m so grateful for the people the lord permits us to know, to teach, and to learn from. Thank you all for all your support, great emails, and prayers! And just for being part of my life. 

My time is up but I´ll be writing again on Saturday for transfers!
Have a wonderful week! Try and serve someone! 

Love you all!!!
Hermana Schwartz