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

I'm a Proud Mom

Heyy everybody! Como les van?

Okay, I´m super bummed because I have soooo many photos I want to send but I forgot my cable! Boooo. Next week. I promise. 

But I have a DAUGHTER and she is darling! (I´m training again!) Her name is Hermana Merrick and she´s from the good old northwest, from Oregon. She completed her first week in the field with a lot of courage, with many new bugbites, sweet tanlines, and tons of walking! She´s super awesome and she already knows a ton of Español, so that´s very helpful. She has a twin sister about to start serving in Ciudad Mexico, and they´re gonna chat up a storm in spanish when they get back. :)

Our new area is beautiful! We´re in Jardines, Chetumal. I loooove Chetumal! It´s like a mix of my first two areas. The ocean is super close, but we haven´t caught glimpse of it yet. Fun fact, our area also includes the Belize border. There are flowers in almost all of the streets, and it has a giant mall for whatever random things we need. There´s a Mcdonalds, Office max, the works. It´s very calm and everyone is really friendly. Maybe a little two random guy started catcalling us. But that´s normal here, I guess. 

We basically just worked hard this week to get to know the members and the area. We had a Family Home Evening with the Familia Pastor and they are just fantastic! They gave us cake, are going to fix our air conditioning so it actually works, and the mom is going to sew my skirts that are too big. We were walking a little bit lost and like angels they appeared to give us a ride. They´re too good. Their son speaks english really well, and so he helps us with spanish and vice versa. Hermana Bella is another member that is just too good for words. She gave us lunch and just helped us out a bunch. The bishop is incredible, también. I´m so excited to work with the members and I know that this ward has so much potential! 

We taught the whole first lesson in the street. In the end, the guy didn´t want anything with the church, but it was such great practice for Hermana Merrick! Her first taste of what it´s like to teach and answer real questions, with real spanish speakers. I´m grateful for all the random little opportunities we have to share the gospel, even when we don´t see the immediate results. 

We ate my favorite food, Pozole, not once, not twice, but THREE times this week. It´s delicious and the Lord has truly blessed me that literally everyone made us pozole. It´s a traditional dish to celebrate Mexican Independence day, so that might have had something to do with it, haha. We didn´t even realize that it was a holiday here until the next day. That´s how peaceful Chetumal is. 

We got to visit a family that lives in a Pueblo outside of Chetumal. The whole ward went and did a family night with the less actives in Santa Elena, and it was great to see so much unity. We´re gonna start working and finding lots of investigators. 

This week the Lord reaffirmed my testimony that the scriptures contain answers. I was wondering how I could improve as a trainer, as a missionary, and have more patience with my companion. I opened up the Bible to a story that perfectly answered my questions. The Lord knows us, he hears our prayers, and he can answer our questions! I´m getting excited for general conference in a couple weeks, I know prayers will be answered! 

I love you all! Thanks for all you do, you guys are amazing. I promise next week I´ll write more individually and send lots of pictures! Have a wonderful week!!!

Hermana Schwartz

(Photos added after she sent them on 9/25/2017)

Chetumal, Here I Come!

Hi everyone!

We`ve got cambios on Monday and I`m headed to Chetumal! I`m really excited because I`m going to be training a new missionary! On Monday I get to meet my ¨hija¨, and then we travel six hours by bus to the furthest south point of the mission. We´re also going to be opening an area, so there`s lots to learn and it`ll definitely be interesting! 

This week we got to go to Peter Piper Pizza with Presidente! (Try saying that five times fast, haha!) It was super fun and we got to celebrate the baptisms we had this month as a Zone. I ate so much pizza, but one elder totally beat me. He at 17 slices!! And pasta! It was ridiculous. We also got to say goodbye to an Elder and celebrate a birthday. Lot`s of fun as a zone! 

Ohhh, also this week was crazy because we saw a ton of random exotic animals! One guy was just chilling outside his house with an EAGLE. We stopped to talk to him and give him a pass along card, and he let us hold it! He works in the hotels and so his eagle needs to get used to being social. It was so cool! I can`t send the photo this week because the computer isn`t working, but we took pics!! 

And then we went with an Hermana in the ward who has a pet monkey named Max. He`s adorable and I promise i`ll send pictures next week. We didn`t get to hold him because he bites when he`s nervous, but he was so cute!! 

We did a spa night, with facials. And we got invited to this sweet kid in the wards birthday party. He only invited the elders and us, because he loves the missionaries. Moises is the best! We ate his favorite food, bombasos, and cake. 

I promise we`re working hard and teaching people too! It`s not all just crazy animals and fiestas. During our intercambios, all of our appointments fell through. But we learned the importance to keep searching and trust that the Lord will put people in our path. We found 5 new people that day! 

I guess this week I`ve learned that God really does prepare us for the things he has in store. This cambio has been awesome and I`m so grateful for the time I had in our little Trio! I`m so excited meet my new companion! There are miracles waiting in Chetumal. 

If anyone is considering going on a mission, just know that it is definitely not easy but it is absolutely worth it. The people are so good and the blessings are so real. 

Thanks for everything, hope it`s good week!
Hasta luego, 
hermana Schwartz

(Photos added after she sent them on 9/25/2017)