Sunday, January 14, 2018

Trio Equals Three Times the Fun!

Hello, hello! I´m writing on a Saturday because next week we´ve got cambios! I´m staying here in beautiful Playa, close by the beach! Sorry to all of my missionary friends and family that are suffering in the snow. ;)

I´m working in trio until monday, when my new companion Hermana Flores arrives! Who was actually my companion before in Cancun, so I´m super excited. She´s the best. It was a great week, full of change and lots of work which is always good. I got to go on lots of splits with members so that we could take care of the two halves of the area. We found new people to teach and I´m so excited! Osiris is a sweet niña that is honestly so smart! She understood everything we taught super quick and is just adorable. We are also teaching Rogelio, who learned about the church when he lived in the US. He´s the perfect investigator, but he works on Sundays! Noooo! We´re fasting and praying and looking for opportunities to attend church. I´m so grateful that God always puts people in our path when we go out to look for them. 

I´m sending pictures of food. It was a good week for food. Hermana Martinez, one of my comps, is from El Salvador. She taught the relief society how to make Popusas, and they are realllly good. We also bought pies from the Elders Quorum president, because he is a baker and he makes the best pies I have ever had the privelige to try. They are seriously delicious. It´s like a cheesecake with blackberry filling. 

Oh, and the best part of this week!!!! We watched a the mission! The area president authorized our mission to watch the Disney movie "COCO" as a zone, because it teaches about family history and mexican culture. And I´m obsessed!!! No me diga, it is so good! My companion and I were cracking up all week about the funny parts and now we now why they don´t normally let missionaries watch movies, because we´re constantly singing the catchy songs or referencing it. But I´m focused, I promise! Haha. But I officially love that movie. If you want to know how it relates to gospel doctrine read D&C 128:15, which explains baptisms for the dead and how amazing family history work is!

I´m really excited for the upcoming transfer and I know that we will be able to see lots of miracles here. Thanks everyone for your love and support! Let me know if I can be of any help for anything. One random tourist guy who served in this mission called us asking us to look up his convert from 20 years yeah, literally anything you need the misisonaries are there to help! 

I want to share a scripture with you guys. One convert here said that he got baptized so that he could come to know Jesus Christ. I was thinking a lot about that and I read Mosiah 5:13. I invite you all to read it and ponder about how we can come to know Christ. What more can we do to honor our baptismal covenants and truly be called his servants? This church is true! The work of salvation is going forth here in this world and in the other side of the veil. Have a wonderful week and always remember the great love that God has for you! 

Hermana Schwartz


Monday, January 1, 2018

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo!

Hello everyone! Happy New Year!

The holidays here were honestly so amazing, mostly because I got to talk to my family!! Skype is the best invention ever, hands down. We also got fed really good food by the members and got to come home early to chill in our tiny apartment. Good times. Mexico likes to celebrate Christmas and New Years with LOTS of fireworks and loud music, so it was a fiesta. 

I`ve been so excited to write all week, just to send my love and thanks to all of you. I love this time of year and even though it was very different to pass it as a missionary, it was unforgettable and I`m so grateful that I can be here. 

Last Wednesday we had a baptism!!! Alfonso Jimenez was truly prepared by the Lord! He amazes me with his humble prayers and his desires to change. He never learned how to read, so after we finished prepping him for his baptism, we started teaching him the alphabet! His first word that he read was FE--faith in Spanish. It was so cool. And the young men went to go help out our other convert, Pedro, in his casita because he has a ton of old cans. They sold them for a ton of money and he is just so grateful for their help. 

We found a really sweet stray dog that my companion went up to pet. (not really super smart, but she did it, not me, Mom! Haha) She looked at the nametag and said, "Oh, her name is Rabies!" It was the license for the rabies vaccines. I cracked up because she kept saying, "Come here, Rabies!" The name stuck. I included a picture of cute rabies. :)

Hermana Betancourt was pretty sick this week, unfortunately, so we stayed inside a bunch and didn`t get to work a ton. And we basically ate chicken noodle soup all week because the members all heard that she was sick. But she also had a birthday and I tried REALLY hard to make it special. I made her favorite breakfast, zuchinni toast,(yes, that`s really her favorite) and we planned a little party with the members. It was a special day for her and it was fun finding little ways to serve throughout the day. 

We also had exchanges with the Sister Training leaders and I got to proselyte with my old companion Hermana Flores! It was fun to be out with her again, and it helped me see that I do know how to navigate the area! We finshed off the day with a giant pizza and a mini Christmas party. 

We basically dropped all of our investigators because they weren`t progressing, but we found new people too! They`ve got a lot of potential. We are pumped to be able to teach and baptize in the month of January! 

Today we went to the beach! But just to pick up another missionary who was coming in from cozumel. But it was still beautiful! It`s the closest I have been to the ocean in my whole mission. 

I know that setting goals is inspired by God. I gave a talk in Sacrament yesterday about how our part is being diligent, and Christ`s part is giving us his grace. With those two key components I know we can reach any goal! God`s goal is to bring to pass the imortality and eternal life of man. I know that by setting and keeping goals, we are helping him bring to pass his plan for our progression. 

Anyway, I love yáll so much! Have a wonderul week and a wonderful year!!! 
Lots of love from Playa,
Hermana Schwartz​

Skype call Christmas Eve!
Oh, the picture that says Betancourt is from when I woke up early to decorate the house for Hna. B´s birthday. I was so sleepy that I didn`t realize the permanent marker bled through onto the wall. But don`t worry, it washed off! 

Also, we made pillows with the baptism symbol so that we dream about BAPTISMS! yay! So cute. The food is strawberry roses and mole enchiladas.....yum!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Playa del Carmen!

Hi everyone!

Saludos de hermoso Playa del Carmen! Let me tell you, this place is crazy! There are so many tourists here! We´ve talked to people from germany, sweden, England,El Salvador, Argentina, Canada, US. It´s pretty crazy to try and preach in English! Half of our ward last week were families visiting from Utah. It felt just like home, haha! 

The beach is so close, it´s a big temptation but we´ve got better things to do called preaching the restored gospel! This area is so amazing and the people are so prepared to here. In my first day here, we had to drop an investigator because her daughter is very Catholic and doesn´t want anything with the church. It was a little rough to be rejected, but we got to work and we found 6 new people to teach! 

This week I was very blessed to be part of the baptism of Pedro Morales. He is absolutely incredible. He´s super sick and very viejito, and he lives in the smallest little room. He can hardly walk, but he has to climb the sketchiest stairs I have seen every day to get up to his apartment. And he said the most faithful prayer I have ever heard, asking to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true. He still doesn´t have a complete knowledge of all things, but he took a leap of faith and chose to be baptized. He´s a huge example to me. 

We´re teaching a couple other people that are SO close! We literally just try and teach and let the Spirit work in them. 

I love my companion because she preaches repentence, without fear. She has a real gift to speak with people and help them understand. I´m learning a lot from her. She´s from Mexico State, has 5 months in the mission, and is a great missionary. 

We also had an amazing Christmas Conference with our mission presidente and all of our zona! It was a party. We broke three piñatas, had an elegant Christmas dinner, and sang carols. Including a special number written and sang by moi callled the "12 Cambios of christmas", adapting the 12 days of christmas to the mission. It was pretty funny if I do say so myself. I´ll try and send a video. 

It was a wonderful week here, where I learned so much about diligence, dedicating ourselves to the Lord and the blessings of serving others. Also, chile relleno is my new favorite food. SOOO GOOD! 

Love you all so much! Have a wonderful week and special birthday shoutout to my brother Jacob!

Hermana Schwartz

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Photos from a friend in Playa Del Carmen!

 Someone who lives in Kelsey's new area took them out to lunch, then was kind enough to send us some photos.

They grow up so fast!!! Transfers!

Ahhhhhhhh hi guys I´m sooo sorry but I have absolutely no time this week!

The biggest news is that Hermana Merrick has officially finished her training and is a big missionary now! So excited for her and I know she´ll do amazing things. 

I´m getting transferred to PLAYA del CARMEN! Oooh, ahhh! It´s gonna be very different and a little bit faster paced, but I´m excited. I love going to new areas and meeting the amazing people. My new comp is gonna be the Hermana Bettancourt. Her name looks american and she looks american, but plot twist, she´s from Mexico! She´s the cutest thing ever and I¨'m excited to work with her! 

I know that the Lord works miracles. Short experience that isn´t really revelant to anything, but today I prayed to be able to open our blender that has been broken for 12 weeks. And I was able to do  it!! God can give us strength in any challenge. Inculding broken blenders. 

Hope you´re all excited for the Christmas season and look for little ways to SERVE. There is nothing that brings greater joy. 

Love you all so much! Please forgive me for this short email. Have a fabulous week! 
Next week I´ll give a full report about my new area, etc. :) 

Hermana Schwartz

Sometimes the Lord Works With Puppies

Aloooohhhha! Just kidding, hola. Trying to mix it up a bit.

Soooo, this week was full of ups and downs, but everything worked out the way it was supposed to. We had our hopes smashed a couple of times, but it definitely humbled us. 

One Tuesday, we were visiting in a part of our area that we hardly ever go to, because our dear friend and most constant investigator, Marla, had her baby! Welcome to the world, little Oliver! On our way to visit her, we saw the cutest,tiniest little puppy! To my great delight he started to follow us, for several blocks! We named him Joe, because it just suited him and because it made me think of the song, "Where did you come from? Where do you go? Where do you come from Cotton Eye Joe?" He was just wandering around lost, and nobody know whose dog he was. So he followed us around for a bit, until we were finally just like, "Well, we can´t keep a dog. Let´s go find some niños." The first family we found had SIX KIDS. All under the age of 11. We asked them if they wanted a puppy, and of course they said SIIIIII!!! And just started loving him.  But we got super excited because the mom said they assisted the Mormon church when the lived in Louisiana!!! We were so pumped and just started counting baptisms. There are four kids that are above 8 years old, and the parents. We couldn´t wait to be able to teach them, and we were so grateful that the Lord guided us to this family with a little lost puppy. 

BUT the sad news is the dad is actually very anti mormon and even though the kids all want to be baptized, he´s not going to let them. Unfortunately there isn´t much we can do without the parents consent, so we´re just going to wait and hope that they can learn about the gospel in the future. But it sure was fun to have a puppy as a companion. I know that everthing happens for a reason and that God is very aware of this family. 

The other crazy twist was we just weren´t sure if Rafael was ready to be baptized or not. I have never had an investigator that made me feel so conflicted inside. One minute it was, YES, he´s ready! And the next was, he can´t possibly be ready. He´s not humble, and he hasn´t gone to church. He was a special case that our mission presidente authorized because he´s in the military and can´t assist on sundays. So we were fasting, praying, seeking revelation, aaaand we decided to drop him. But then in a crazy turn of events we were planning to have his baptism yesterday, but the Bishop called it off last minute for some very valid reasons. ANYWAY. What I learned from this is sometimes God doesn´t give us a clear answer of "yes, or no." Sometimes he lets us take our own actions. We did everything we could so that Rafael could get baptized in this transfer. And we will get baptized, just in a few weeks when he´s more prepared. I learned that if we do everything we can, and the answer still is "no," then we can accept that as the will of the Lord. 

The super sweet thing is that Rafael was very concerned that Root Beer was against the word of wisdom. When he learned that it wasn´t, he bought us root beer to celebrate. It was too good :) 

In other events, I ate a chicken foot. And...we feel like the spirit of thanksgiving has descended upon us because we saw a giant turkey. 

We also got flu shots, so we are well immunated against the "cold front" that´s coming. 

I can´t believe that Hermana Merrick is finishing up her training. She´s amazing and I feel so lucky to have been her trainer. I hope that she has learned a lot in our time together, because I sure have! 

This next week were are going to travel to Playa del Carmen to hear from a Seventy! Elder Pino is going to talk to the whole mission and it´s gonna be amaaaazing! 

Oh, and the other good news is that Araceli is on track for her baptism this Saturday!! She is so sweet, very spunky, and she loved learning about the commandments. When she learned that we shouldn´t give false witness against our neigbors, she commited to stop gossiping. I have had the privilege to have a lot of "converniños". Or a lot of my converts are kids. :) Actually, all of them up to this point. But I think it´s because kids are just so willing to change, to live the gospel, and to follow the Savior. Aracely is so great and I´m so excited for her!! 

Thanks for all of your great support, love, and prayers. I´m grateful for every single one of you, because in some way or another you have helped me get to this point. I´m grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ. I´m grateful for the good people of Chetumal, a sweet companion, a loving Heavenly Father who answers our prayers in the best possible way. And I´m grateful that I can write and hear from you guys every week. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Enjoy it, because it doesn´t exist here. We´ve got our own version planned, but it won´t be the same. 

Love you all!
Hermana Schwartz 

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