Monday, November 13, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside

Hola friends and fam!

How`s life treating you these days? Can you believe I`m going to hit the half way mark??? I sure can´t. It`s absolutely loco. :) I had to put that title, slightly ironically and slightly en serio because it has dropped to a chilly 75, 80 degrees and I am FREEZING in the mornings. It`s ridiculous. I`m definitly not acustomed to the cold anymore. It doesn`t help that it`s humid. But my companion slightly mocks me in the morning because I`m always wrapped up in my sheet, with socks and a sweater just shivering. I love the heat of Cancún. :)

We had a good week this week, and we managed to find a few new people that have a lot of potencial! Carlos is this old military guy that only has one leg, and it was so cool to teach him. The missionaries taught him a boat load of stuff, but he never got baptized. He just has been pondering and thinking about the message for about a year now, and he had amaaaazing questions. We could see the clarity and the peace that came into his eyes to finally have an answer. He can`t see very well, so we`re going to print off a few verses from the Book of Mormon in giant font so he can read and pray. Super excited to see if he can progress! 

And HAPPY DAY Araceli finally came to church! Esta niña....she`s so ready to be baptized, but it`s hard to come to church sometimes. We passed by for her and she was all ready to go! 

We`ve been practicing a few musical numbers to play/sing in December. My personal goal lately is learn how to sing the alto part, because it sounds soooo pretty and I`ve always wanted to learn how to harmonize. With Hermana Merrick`s musical genius, I`m slowly picking it up. We`re going to sing "Be Still My Soul," in a mix of English and Spanish accompanied by a gorgeous piano part. I`m not super strong on the harmony yet, so sometimes it sounds like the middle ages creepy music. But I`ll get it! Hopefully, haha! I`m also basically the designated ward chorister, including for a slightly off-key Priesthood Choir. Fun stuff. 

We had intercambios this week and Hermana Gunderson and Hermana Davis surprised us with homemade tortillas! It was their...third or fourth attempt, I think, and they turned out good! Gotta learn the secret of tortilla making before I finish up here in a short 9 months. 

Another random story...the power went out with the cute Familia Bobabilla while we were having a Family Home Evening. They taught their kiddos so well, they knew just what to do and said a very faith filled prayer. The mom just kept cooking the refreshments on the gas stove, and we read the scriptures by candlelight. When we saw them the next sunday and asked them if the light came back, the kids were just like, "Yeah, it did! Really fast, too!!" They`re just a really great example to me. 

Okay, and here`s my cool spiritual thought for the week. I studied a lot in first and second Nephi this week, and I know that these are the first chapters of the Book of Mormon for a reason. We can read them over and over again, know the stories inside and out, but we`ll always find something new. I loved how Lehi KNEW that he had seen a vision and that his sons needed to get the plates. Sariah started to complain abit, but it says that after her sons were back and the trial passed, she KNEW with certainty that they would be protected in the desert. Sometimes our trials are just what we need to be able to keep going, keep trusting, and keep believing in the Lord. It`s our experiences that form our faith and strengthen our testimonies. I also learned a lot about how Nephi reacted when the Lord told him to kill Laban. That was a crazy answer, that Nephi wasn`t expecting. But he thought it over, and really considered all the consequences. When he knew it was the Lord`s will, he acted and followed through. That`s the way we can receive revelation. And we need to act, even if it isn`t the answer we expected or wanted. 

Anway, I know that the Lord will answer our prayers. I know that I am here, serving in beautiful Chetumal, Mexico for a reason. And I know that he will put the people that we need to teach in our path. It`s such a huge privelige and blessing just to be out here, and these last 9 months haven`t been easy, but I have felt a true sense of joy. It`s humbling, enabling, and just amazing. 

I hope you all have a fabulous week!! I can`t upload pics with this chaffa computer, so here`s one of when I was just starting and still a jovencita in the CCM. :) 

Lots of love from Chetumal, 
Hermana Schwartz 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Día de Los Muertos

Hey guys! Sorry this is gonna be a quick one this week. We had some fun adventures in the morning and now we don´t have a toooon of time.

But this week was Día de los Muertos! It isn´t a huge deal here in the peninsula, but it was fun because everyone puts out a little altar with pictures of their loved ones that have passed away. Complete with tamales, candy, and lots of flowers. We thought they were super pretty, but it turns out its kind of a sin....since it´s an alter......and we only worship God. But we enjoyed the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about FAMILY HISTORY. We had some really special lessons and really felt that family history work is the same as missionary work, just on the other side of the veil. I love the scripture that says if we breing even one soul unto god, how great shall be our joy. I know that to be true. 

Our convert Amayrani moved and we finally found her new house!!! Yayyyy! Sometimes we have to stalk people, but it´s all for a good purpose. She is so sweet, and we played a really fun game to learn about prayer. We have to pay attention to the answers, so we changed little things about our clothes. (eg, my nametag with Hermana Merricks, or we switched watches, etc) She had to note the difference, and it was so fun. We got her little brother in on it and we were all just giggling like crazy. They´re good muchachos. 

I´ve got a bunch of photos to send, but the only one that uploaded is this crazy star fruit that we bought! Just take it as a reminder that you´re all stars. (Cheesy, but I love you guys!) God loves you, he is cheering you on, and he will fight your battles if you let him. 

I promise I´ll send lots of stories and pics next week! Love you all a bunch! 

Hasta Luego, 
Hermana Schwartz

Saturday, October 21, 2017

So. Much. Cake. :)

Hey everyone, how are y'all?

Thanks again for the sweet birthday emails and cards. I am now officially 20! Ahhhh, when did this happen?!

I had a wonderful birthday a la mexicana, without any face cake smashing.Hermana Davis and Hermana Gunderson passed by in the morning with incredibly delicious, diabetes-filled, OREO PANCAKES. This is our new kitchen concoction that is super tasty but also probably not the healthiest. But they also surprised me with a confetti filled egg on my head and amazing gospel stickers. Love them. 

And then my sweet comp totally surprised me by planning a "Family Home Evening" with our favvvvorite members in the ward, the Familia Pastor. They had everthing all masterminded, and I didn`t expect a thing until I walked in and they had balloons everywhere and a giant cake! That was the first of many cakes. I also got one from the zone to make up for smashing my face in the first one, one from the member that made us lunch, and we also ate a cake for Dia de Los Muertos. So good! 

I`m so excited because we found some amazing new investigators this week! Araceli is super sweet, 11 years old, and wants to be baptized so bad!! Merari is the other ivestigator with potential. She listened so intently when we taught. I love teaching and I love the people so much! 

We got our very exciting cambios this week....we`ll be staying together in Jardines! Woot, woot!! Hermana Merrick is gonna be finishing up her training and then she`s off to conquer the world. 

We`re not quite in Novemeber yet, but I`m grateful for goals, my amazing family, good friends, the gospel, yummy mexican food, the fact that I can email once a week, the good ward here, the rain that cools us off, my hammock, and most of all my Savior. Count your blessings in the little moments and you truly will realize how blessed we are. 

Sorry that it`s a bit short this week, but I love you guys! The gospel is true! And happy day because I`ve got pictures, yayyy! 

Have a great week, 
Love Hermana Schwartz

Friday, October 20, 2017

I "DONUT" Believe It!

Wow, okay hi everyone! this week has been absolutely crazy and I´ve learned some things that will change my mission. Unfortunately, I do not have annnnnyyy time today because we´re about to go to the dentist! It´s a long story, but there´s a tradition here to smash the face of the birthday girl in the cake. My face cake smashing went awry and I chipped my tooth! It has been a grand adventure and honestly turned out to be so much fun. We made a hillbilly style music video to "This LIttle light of mine" with my wonderful sister training leaders. Good times. It was a very exciting early birthday surprise. They´re going to put in a white filling that won´t look to cheesy or goofy. Even though I requested a gold grill that says "Mexico Cancun." ;)

Thank you all so much for the sweet birthday wishes! I promise I´ll respond more next week, but I appreciate it so much! I love hearing from you guys. :)

This week we travelled to cancun for my hijas generation meeting and we partied it up! I loved being with the other "moms" and exchanging advice about "parenting." It´s stressful stuff at times, but I love it. 

We worked on our goals and visions for our missions and we´re pumped to work hard and have 10 investigadores with baptismal dates!!! Right now we have 2, but we´re going to pray, search, and find the escogidos! It was amazing going out with the capis because we found the most beautiful family of 4, and one little girl said, "Oooohhh I WANT to go to your church! Can I go tomorrow?" And the dad said the prayer and almost started crying. It was potente. We also started teaching a lady that is soooo amazing! She can´t get baptized until december, but I love seeing her eyes light up when she talks about how she knows she´s a daughter of god. The work is amazing. 

We celebrated my 8 month mark in the field with the most perfect dessert ever....two giant delicious donuts!!! I loved it so much. I literally "Donut" believe how fast the time has gone. 

There was also an ADORABLE primary activity where the kids were mini missionaries and taught the classes. We got to participate in the choir and we all sang "Llamados a Servir" with tanto fervor. It was incredible to see the strength of the little kids and hear their sincere testimonies. 

I think that´s all of the updates!! I´m sorry I coudn´t read/respond very well this week. My next pday will be this Saturday, so I´ll be able to respond then! 

The work is good, I´m happy and slightly toothless! Next week I´ll send pics! Please don´t judge the gross closeup of my face but I know my dentist relatives want to see, haha. 

Adios por ahora, 
Hermana Schwartz

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Cuando Me Bautice" (When I Am Baptized)

Hello friends and family! How are you all? I hope that everything is going well and that you´re enjoying the fall leaves if you happen to be in a place that has seasons. :)

This week was so good. Just good. I started studying the Book of Mormon a little more, because I hadn´t been reading it everyday. I was studying the Bible, or other books. But the Book of Mormon truly has a light and a power that it brings into our lives. After a few days of reading one chapter daily, I feel like I have more patience, I´m more sensitive to the spirit, and I´m just happier! It´s crazy how that works. 

The Lord has truly blessed us this week. On Sunday after General Conference, we found Amayrani. Less than a week later, she was baptized!! She´s so precious. She´s 11, loves to help with her little brother, likes science and reading, and just wants to follow Jesus. Her baptism was perfect and she was sooooo happy when she came out of the water! I love her. We´re working on making a little book to give to her, and everyone that came wrote their testimonies. I love teaching kids and teenagers, because they understand, they are humble, and they can take decisions that will change their futures. 

Other tender mercies: We found a 78 year old lady named Teadora, and she accepted a baptismal date! She´s so sweet. We had to fight for her though! We showed up for our appointment, started singing, and the Jehovah´s witnesses passed by! We stood our ground and they left. Hahaha, we won the battle of wills. 

Another investigator has an empanada stand. I was super hungry and we passed by with him and he gave us empanadas. Yup, I´m totally counting that as a miracle. 

Anyway....we also did a super awesome activity where all of the missionaries from our Zone came to our area! We divided up into teams with the members and just contacted a bunch of less active familes. It helped us have more people to visit, and the ward was really impressed with the efforts to visit people. We also had intercambios (exchanges) and dang, I learned a lot!! It´s always good to take a step back and see how we can improve. 

To celebrate our baptism, we went out to lunch! At....Applebees! They randomly have one in our area, and it was sooooo good. A member of our ward works there and wants to practice his English, so we ordered in english. He said, "The special of the day is the birds eggs." And we were just like...."Aren´t all eggs from birds?" He was also a little confused with jam, and ham. Which makes sense because the "j" in spanish makes the "h" sound. He asked if we wanted our eggs with jam. We all got a good laugh out of it. :) 

So excited because we have lots of investigators with potential to teach this week. The work of the Lord truly is exciting. It´s moving forward! We just need to be in the right place, and be willing to serve. I love what hermana Bonnie Oscarson (I think?) said about how we should first serve in our own communities. Look for someone to serve, someone to love, and be willing to follow the will of the Lord. I know he will bless you for it! Oh, and another part of the week I will never forget!!! A sweet, sweet hermana from our ward came to acompany us to an appointment. It was her birthday. Her birthday, people! We didn´t know until she started to cry in the lesson. She explained that she felt the spirit so strong, like it was a birthday present from her Heavenly Father. She also said, "if I don´t serve, how will my children learn to serve?" She´s amazing and I will always remember this moment for her great example. 

Okay, that´s all for this week. :)I love you guys so much! Have a wonderful week!!!
Hasta luego,
Hermana Schwartz

Monday, October 2, 2017

We're Conference Nerds!


Okay, General Conference was amaaaaazing! The spirit was so strong and I still can´t get over it. We watched the first two sessions in English, mixed it up a little on Sunday with a session in Spanish, and joyfully returned to English as soon as we got an ipad set up. :) But literally every talk and every word just seemed to fill me up spiritually. I loved how even though Thomas S. Monson couldn´t speak, his apostles supported him, testified of him, and repeated his words and council from April. My favorite talk was Ronald A. Rasband´s about God´s Divine Design. We are in the places, countries, homes, schools, wards, missions, where we are, for a REASON! God can work miracles through us. We just need to trust in him and work hard to develop our divine gifts, and be ready to use them. I felt like that was a huge theme of the conference, trusting in God. The scripture Proverbs 3:5 was repeated several times, "Trust in the Lord thy god with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding." I really needed that message this week, and we´ve started to really see God´s hand here in Chetumal. 

Por ejemplo....we found an investigator who is absolutely fantastic! Amairani (her name is so beautiful but so hard to pronounce, haha!) is 11, and she loves going to church and wants to be baptized. Even better, her mom gave us her permission to teach her! We´re hoping and praying that she can be baptized this week! Whoo! We´re also working with 15 year old Alberto, who is also amazing. The spirit was so strong when we talked about Joseph Smith, and I could tell that the message resonated with him. We got to go to the baptism of the other hermanas here, and it turned out so beautiful. I felt the Spirit when their investigator came out of the water, and I also felt at peace that we´re going to be able to find and baptize people here too. 

Funny things that happened this week were that we discovered that Hermana Merrick´s dad put some "spíritual" bluegrass jam style music on her ipod. We were just casually listening to the MoTab when all of a sudden some banjo picking started and we cracked up. 

Another funny moment was when I told our Zone Leader that I don´t always understand him. (He has a wacky nothern mexico accent) And then after everything he said he spoke really clearly, "Me en-ten-DIO?!" (Did you understand me??) He´s never gonna let me live it down, haha. 

I learned a lot this week about following the spirit. We were in a taxi about to go visit a less active member, when we realized that we were really close to an investigators house. We both felt impressed to stop there and visit her. We sang a hymn and she just looked up and said, "You guys have a really special spirit." She hasn´t been progressing too well, but it felt so cool to act on the prompting and help someone feel the spirit. Even better, when we left her house, we found another guy that we´ve been trying to contact for weeks!! That´s one reason why Elder Rasband´s talk had so much impact on me. I really do trust that the Lord will put the people we are meant to serve in our paths, whether that be in a mission or in our home wards. 

The talks were great and I´m so grateful for conference to carry us through these next six months. I´m grateful for Lion King references, for Elder Nelsons "King, it doesn´t work that way!" and for Elder Anderson's sweet tribute to Elder Hales. I´m grateful for a Divine Father who wants us to know of his love for us, and for living prophets and apostles who lead us and guide us. I know this church is true and that following the gospel plan brings us pure joy. 

You´re all amazing, thanks for all you do! I hope that everything is going well and that you all continue to enjoy conference online and in the ensign. :) Have a wonderful week!

Hermana Schwartz

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Be Brave, Work Hard!

Hey everyone!

Well, another week has flown by. It´s been a little rough because we still haven´t found anyone to teach. But we´ve definitely seen little miracles! Yesterday we decided to go out and search for just half an our more. We went to go visit a member that lives on our street, but we read the house number wrong and ended up knocking on some random persons door. Maria answered and was just like, "Come in, do you want some water?" (Which is literally the nicest thing a person can say here! Haha, it´s way too hot!" She belongs to a different religion, but her mom passed away recently and she is looking for peace. We didn´t have enough time to teach her a ton, but we talked about the plan of salvation and I know that the Lord will help us to help this sweet sister. We left her house and my sweet companion was like, "That just doesn´t happen!!" It does happen, and it did happen. Misisons are the best. :) 

We also talked to a taxi driver that is just so prepared to hear the gospel! Not in our area, but we sent of the reference and it´s so cool to see how the gospel answers the questions that so many people need answers to. 

The sister training leaders did intercambios with us to help us out a little and it was such a blessing! It really sparked up my animo and helped me think of diferent ways we can work hard. We have to be creative and take the iniciative if we want to see change. 

Oh, it was super crazy because for one night and one day we didn´t have power!! It was an adventure. What happened was some construction workers on our street cut our power to do some work, and didn´t tell us. We freaked out because I thought I forgot to pay the light bill. So we took all the food out of the fridge, packed up our stuff and stayed the night with the other Hermanas, becuase it´s like, impossible to sleep without a fan. It was super crazy but when we came back to the house to check things out, the construction guy told us what had happened and put our electricity back. It was a super random experience, but man, I am so grateful for electricity now! It was so good that everything worked out. Just another little testimony builder. 

We bought a piñata in the street for Sister Martinez´s birthday, but it turns out the piñata seller guy made it THAT DAY. So it was super wet and mushy by the time we smashed it. It was a chicken and we named it Lalo. Pobrecito was dying, but we filled him with candy and it was really fun. 

The Womens Broadcast was the highlight of my week! We watched it in Spanish and it filled me up with so much joy. I loved the talk about what kind of women we need to be. Kind, articulate, outspoken. The Lord needs us to give all of our courage and all of our talent, and be exceptional women if we are going to win this fight. A lot of stuff is going on in the world, from natural disasters to poverty. These are the last days. But I know our Heavenly Father has a purpose for all of this and that it is preparing us for the Second coming of his Son! He loves us and he will not let anything happen that we can´t overcome with faith. 

We celebrated Mexican Independence day in the ward with a small Noche Mexicana, and the dancers were incredible. They literally did the Mexican hat dance, complete with sombrero and everything. We were singing along like real Mexicanas. 

I´m learning a lot and I love being here. It´s amazing to see the little miracles and the hand of God in this work. He lives and he loves us. 

Aaaaannd I finally have pictures! Sorry that they´re from like 3 weeks back. I hope you all enjoy them, especially the little music video we made. 

Have a wonderful week!! Be brave and work hard. 
Hermana Schwartz