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!
Monday, August 7, 2017
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
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!!
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!
Monday, July 24, 2017
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!!!
Thursday, July 20, 2017
How´s everthing going? Cancún is beautiful, super hot and humid, and everyone says it´s just gonna keep getting hotter. I´m starting to wish we could maybe just pass by the beach....just to see it! I haven´t seen the ocean in my whole time here. I completed 5 months on Friday! The time is just flying by and I can´t quite believe it, especially when I hear about all of these other people leaving on missions and getting back!
We had intercambios this week and I got to go work for one day in the area next to us, it´s called Nichupte. It looks exactly the same so it wasn´t anything too shocking. But it was fun to work with the capacitadora (sister training leader,) because she talks to EVERYONE! It really pushed me to open up and just start inviting people. It was fun because she also showed me a super cool activity to do with investigators. You take 3 cups (tazas) and 3 forks, and you have to get all the forks to touch in the middle. It´s pretty challenging, but there´s a trick. Once you get them connected ,you can put a ton of weight on it---it can hold scriptures! We did it with this one lady, and her face was just filled with awe! It was so cute, haha. The three cups represent prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. With these three things we can build a solid foundation for our lives. :) We also did it with a family with young kids, and their youngest son Marco offered to sit on it to see how strong it reallllly was. Jaja. :)
I´m absolutely too tall to live here in Mexico, I´ve decided. I hit my head on a gate and everyone laughed at me. One time I wore a black shirt to church and a lady commented that I looked like the Grim Reaper because I´m so tall and wore black....gracias. But it´s good!! It´s a fun way to stand out and it´s helping me develop my sense of humor in spanish! I learned the word for "high heels" and told everyone I´m going to wear them next week. ;)
We ate some delicious choco-flan, it´s flan with chocolate cake underneath! The members here are amazing and they always give us food. We also got free carne asada yesterday. I love that stuff. Another new food that we tried were "flautas." Flauta means flute, and they´re basically just fried taquitos. But with crema, guacamole, and tomate? It´s a musical experience. Wow that was a bad pun, sorry everyone.
In terms of investigators, we finally got this one couple to commit to baptism!! Andres and Izzel are amazing! They´re only problem is they aren´t married, and they keep pushing back the date for their wedding. I suggested to them that maybe they could just get the official paperwork done, get baptized, and then have a big wedding with their family. They were just like, "oh...that´s an option? Sweet, we´ll do it!" I hope they can meet their goal and be baptized in August!!
I just want to share something cool l learned from the scriptures this week before I sign off! In the book of Alma, there´s this crazy king named Amalakiah. He convinced the Lamanite leader to come down off the hill and then he poisoned him. It´s a bit intense, but I know that´s how Satan works in our lives! He tries to convince us to lower our standards, just a little bit, until we can´t escape. If we never lower our standards, he can´t touch us. In the chapters before this story, Captain Moroni raises the standard of Liberty! That´s how we should be. Wave your standards high and never, ever lower them for anything! If we do this we will be protected and have peace!
I love you all and hope that you have an excellent week! Email me and tell me about your lives! :)
1. 5 month mark!
2. With hermana Christensen
3. Our giant life time supply of pancake mix!!
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
This was a week of little miracles! We ran around a ton trying to work on our goal to be more punctual, and just ended up being more tired. But the area is huge and so we´re trying our best! We´re trying to petition our mission president for better transport...we don´t want a car, maybe just like a golf cart or something. Taxis get expensive after a while!
It was super cool in one of our lessons with a less active member, Monica. I was saying the opening prayer and I just felt this impression to pray for her husband by name. He isn´t a member and he never joined us in the lessons or anything. But when I opened my eyes, her husband Max was sitting there on the couch praying with us!! And he stayed for the whole lesson AND he went to church on Sunday!! He´s not an Atheist, but he´s definitely a realist. Our lessons have to be very specific and we´re trying to teach him about what it means to have faith. But he´s reading the Book of Mormon and he wants to know! This is a huge change and we´re so excited! I was so grateful that I had the impression to pray for him.
We´re just super grateful because a bunch of investigators just kind of fell into our paths this week. One investigador brought his friends to the lesson and they all participated! Another just found us by our house and asked us to start teaching him. I know that these little blessings are because we´re trying to be more obedient.
BUT.....one investigator is super crazy. His name is Bryan. I honestly don´t know what to do with him. He showed up at the church wearing these outrageously tight workout clothes and mirrored sunglasses. He tells us that he doesn´t have a job. He just goes to the gym. And we gave him a Book of Mormon, but then he locked in a box and couldn´t get it out. We gave him another one, and guess where he put it? Yup.....in the same box. He´s crazy. But he really does seem like he wants to learn, so we´ll see what happens!
We got to destress a little bit and play with puppies! Our neighbors are members and their dog had four puppies that they let us play with! They are super cute and very mischievious.
We also had an awesome conference with 3 zones where we got a super cool way to get references. It reminds me of a challenge that the missionaries in my home ward did...we have to think of people and pray specifically for them for 10 days in a row, and read the scriptures as a family. If we think of these people, the Lord will prepare a way for them to receive a little bit of the gospel.
I repaired another toilet today. I think it´s maybe a sign that I need to be a plumber after the mission. I had a handkerchief in my back pocket and everything! The piece we bought came with a bunch of stickers that you´re supposed to put on the toilet...don´t ask me why....but we put them in our agendas so we don´t forget this momentous occasion.
Anywayyy....I hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that the things that are important to us are important to him. He will listen and bless you if you come to him in prayer. (Alma 33:8) I think the English translation says "he will hear you!" I know that he really will!
Love you all!! :)
The photos are me in front of the super fancy Mexican Walmart, playing with puppies, and this really crazy house that has Greek statues all over it!
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Hola everyone! Hope you all had an excellent week! Happy fourth of July, tomorrow! I have big plans to wear red, white and blue and just have a little bit of American pride in the middle of Cancún!
There are people here from all of the world, it´s actually super interesting! I met the coolest lady ever, she´s a member from RUSSIA that speaks Russian, Spanish and English basically perfectly. We went over to visit her and her family yesterday and they all just casually changed languages like it was nothing. They are such a sweet couple with such strong testimonies! Olga was converted here after growing up without a christian background, and now she and her husband are married in the temple. It´s so cool just to be able to meet so many different people and hear about their stories!
Speaking about interesting people....we found this amazing family! They´ve been inactive for years but now they want to come back to church and their daughter Milka wants to get baptized! She´s absolutely amazing, super bright, super excited and she read the entire Restauracion pamphlet that we left and explained it perfectly to us! (Tears of joy! Haha!) She´s 10 years old and super adorable. Her family also always gives us chocolate, orange juice, or just random treats. And their dog is....drumroll please....a Xoloitzciuintli!!! It´s pronounced like "churro squinkly." It´s a giant, bald, Aztec dog named Huerco! He is so mischievious and crazy! They took him outside because he was climbing all over us and then suddenly found a way back in through the window. Please google a picture so you can see how bizarre he looks. At first it was mildly terrifying to have such a big, bald dog sniffing my stuff but he´s super sweet and intelligent. The best part is that they have Churro Squinklys in the zoo in my old area, but I never got to see them. So it made my day to finally figure out what they are.
Another crazy experience was that we went to eat lunch with a member, Hermana Paty Viveros. She didn´t have time to cook so she bought us 2 Little Caesars pizzas, crazy bread, and soda just for my compañera and me. We managed to finish off one pizza between us, but we were SO FULL! Luckily the next day was fast Sunday, so we were able to really prepare before our fast. Her son showed us his $250 american dollar headphones and crazy expensive speaker. He just started rambling on about how good the quality is and we were just like....."woww...si!"
We had a lot of noches de hogar this week, or little family night visits where we teach a small lesson and then play games. We talked about courage with one family, and then about family history work with another. I love it because they really remind me about the blessings of living the gospel. There is so much to keep learning and keep discovering, even after we have our basic testimonies solid.
It´s been a little interesting because we are House Hunting!! The landlords are going to sell our house and we need to find a new one before the end of the month! It´s a little sad because we´re pretty happy there with the tree on the wall and so much space. But it´ll be good. We´ve got lots of members that are helping us look, and we´re praying that we can find something in our budget in a safe neighborhood. It feels like real life! I took a picture of our wall that has the "Our Recipe" on it. It says cute little things like, 2 cups of hugs, 3 cups of service. Muchos besos! Etc. It was just like that when we got here, but it´s very cute.
The small challenge is that we share this area with some Elders. They´re good and they usually mind their own business and work hard, but lately they´ve been showing up to the same people that we´re visiting! Sometimes at the same time! We just want to tell them, "Stop following us, Por Favor!!!" But it´s kind of funny and it just shows how the work is going forward. If the Lord is sending four missionaries to visit one person, it just shows how much they need the visits!
I love the people here, I love learning to work hard, and I especially love the scriptures.
Alma 26 helped me so much today!! Alma is glorying in the Lord, and it talks about WHY he had success. If we repent, have faith, and good works, we will make an impact, and our joy will be full. Read this chapter if you get a chance, it´s amazing! :)
The other random thing that made me laugh so hard was my companion picked up the phone and totally spaced it and said, "Buenas dias tardes noches habla Hermana Christensen. When in doubt if it´s dias, tardes, or noches, just say all three! Haha, never gonna let her live that one down.
Thank you all for all that you do! I´m praying for you and I know that God is aware of you all and protecting you! Christ is our Savior, brother, and friend. Let him be part of your life this week! :)