Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Uno por Uno, Poco a Poco

¡Holaaaa todos!

Another monday, another missionary email! It´s crazy hot here, and it just keeps getting hotter! Can´t wait for the peak of summer! We worked super hard this week to try and find new investigadores, and to put baptismal dates with the people that we´re teaching. For various reasons, everyone was very inclined to say no. But it´s all good! Every "no" is one step closer to a "si!". 

Jacinto couldn´t be baptized this week, but he´s back now! We got our hopes up because he came back one night, but then left again early in the morning. He´s unpredictable, this one. But he´s in Tizimin, he has the desire to be baptized, and we´re going to prep him so that he can finally be baptized (fingers crossed) next Saturday!

We saw lots of little milagros this week! Alejandro brought his whole familia to church, we visited lots of less active members and they really opened up to us, and the best part was our recent convert Amber, told us she´s preparing to have her patriarchal blessing! This is literally missionary heaven. She is muy buena!!! It is so rewarding to see the little changes in people. She also told us that she felt different when she missed church last week and wants to go every week to renew her covenants! Yesss Amber! Exactamente! It´s so cool. 

We have a little project to activate the less actives, called "Uno por Uno" The ward council is working with us to visit families that have testimonies but don´t feel like it´s important to go to church. There are a lot of challenges here to get people to the capilla! The niños don´t want to get dressed, the houses are far, people have work, or want to take a day to relax. The culture is very much instilled that you can be a good person and don´t need to go to the iglesia cada semana. So we´re working to change that. :) It really is so important and our spirits feel the difference when we don´t go! 

Anyway, we were trying to visit Hermana Suemia, less active member that lives SUPER far away, and she wasn´t there for our appointment. But we found delicious mangos! Straight from heaven, four perfect mangos on the ground waiting for us. Didn´t have a lesson, didn´t find people to teach, but we did find some super rico mangos, haha! Totally worth it to walk the distance. 

I had a really bad pun in a lesson that I´m ashamed to share, but I thought it was funny in the moment. The investigators told us their relatives live in Israel, and I said that I have a relative that lives farther away. "Nuestro Padre Celestial!" Ba-dum, tshh! Yeah, it´s really cheesy. On top of that    I´m my clumsy self and I keep tripping in the streets. I haven´t seriously injured myself yet, but I´m pretty sure my companion has a heart attack every time I fall. AND I got this fruit juice on my favorite shirt that is IMPOSIBLE to remove! We washed it several times, and nada. We finally asked our neighbor and she told us that Guaya juice never comes out. A warning if any of you ever end up eating guayas....

I´ve been trying to study the scriptures and learn more about diligence this week. It´s an atribute of  Christ that is super important in the obra misional (missionary work) and I need to develop. When we´re diligent we work with all our heart, might, mind and strength, and never give up! We need the gospel in hard times and in good times! That´s why we need to continually search and strive to find God´s hand in our lives. I´m reading the Book of Mormon, and with the topic of diligence in mind the Book of Jacob, Enos, and Omni just blew my mind! Enos prayed and worked so that the Lamanites could be converted, and all of his efforts appeared to be in vain. BUT the Lord answered his prayer, because here we are, years later, with the Book of Mormon being brought to every corner of the earth. We´re part of the answer to Enos´s prayer. So if it doesn´t seem like you´re receiving an answer, just remember that everything is in the Lords own time! He hears you, he loves you, and he is aware of all your struggles and joys!!

Sorry that I only have one picture this week! Forgot to bring the converter cable. But it´s me, my wonderful companion, and the incredible Jeanetty! She´s the young women´s president here in Tizimin and is absolutely amazing. Next week I´ll send lots of pictures! I have some of a baby chicken that was born today! Cham pollito! (cham is cute in maya and pollito is chick in español)

Have a wonderful week! Count your blessings, learn some spanish! This language rocks!
Mucho amor, 

Hermana Schwartz

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How to Build a Time Machine

Hola mis queridos amigos y familia!

We started off this week with a giant rainstorm! It was a blast to walk in the flooded streets, splashing and laughing our heads off! We were completely and absolutely soaked by the time we got to our casa!

We organized un Actividad Misional esta semana, and it was crazy! There aren´t a ton of members in the ward, and the ones that are willing to help already have their time full with mutliple callings, work, and their families. So we ended up doing the majority of the preparations and it was insane! The theme of the activity was "Time Travel!" and we made a time machine to go back in time and meet the prophets in the Book of Mormon. It was a super fun idea, and the activity was awesome! We had different members dressed as Nefi, Alma, Abish, Helaman, Moroni, and Joseph Smith. We finished with our testimonies and a challenge to read the book of mormon by the end of the year. The only problems were 1) We gave each niño a balloon hat as part of the "time travel" and they were LOCO. Popping balloons left and right, making different animals, swords, insanity. This was a mistake on our part. :) 2) I was so busy driving the "time machine" that I forgot to take any photos!

The time machine was just a box with a projector inside, but we covered it with really shiny paper and had sound effects! It was sweet.

We´re a little sad because Jacintos baptism fell through this week. He went to Cancun for work and wasn´t able to be baptized on Saturday. But we´re praying, working, and hoping that he will be here and ready to make this covenant with God next Saturday!!! Even sadder, though is that his puppy, Pirata, passed away. He was super sick and is in a better place. Good news is we studied Doctrine and Covenants and learned that animals will be resurrected!!

We also found some people that have amazing potential. You never know who is ready to receive the gospel, you just have to open your mouth and ask them!

Our bishop thinks that I´m a millionaire and that I should pay for everything in the ward because I´m an American, so that´s fun. And everyone thinks that all we eat is hamburgers...haha!

Oh, we had a conference in Valladolid and it was awesome! Presidente Reynoso gave us a solid pep talk about how to work with the members and how we can have success. I know that even if only one person goes to an activity, or if we only have one baptism in todo la mision, we have success! We are participating in the work of salvation. Jesus Christ is the head of this Church, and he knows who is ready. He invites all to come unto Him and find lasting peace. I am so grateful to be a member of the restored church! We share it because we love it. The Book of Mormon is true! Study it with a question in your mind and I know you will find answers!

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Lots of love from Tizimin, Yucatan!
Hermana Schwartz​

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Three Months Down!!!

Wow, hola everyone!

I just wasted like, a half hour of my email time talking to a very inteligente señor about inner peace, so that was interesting...so lo siento that I don`t have a ton of time to write!

This week was the week of ENFERMEDADES. First I got sick with a stomach infection because we ate spoiled meat at a members house...ew. I had a really high fever and we had to walk to the doctors office and I felt like a zombie. But I got a priesthood blessing from the Elders, and miraculously I am okay right now! I know that prayers of health are answered and that the missionaries serving around the world have special help and protection. 

But after I recovered from my stomach bug scare, I caught a cold. And of course I passed it on to my poor companion. So we were bored out of our minds this week because we couldn`t leave to proselyte. One fun thing is that we got to use skype for Mother`s day, and it was so amazing to talk with my family!!! 

We feel a lot better now, and are super pumped to go out and actually work hard! 

I completed three months in the mission yesterday! It´s so crazy how fast time flies! I have learned a ton in these few months, including:

1. If there is a cucaracha, kill it three times to make sure it actually dies. 
2. How to eat ginormous plates of food and still have room for seconds. 
3. How to understand when niños and viejitos talk rapido
4. Not to wave at drunk people unless you want to flirt with them
5. Go to the temple OFTEN! The people here go every month to the temple in Merida, even though it is 2 hours away and costs more than 100 pesos! They sacrifice so much to go the temple, and we have so many close by! The excuse to not go isn`t a matter of how far away the temple is, it`s a matter of what we choose to do with our time. 
6. Choco and Pirata are good dogs that I can pet. Don`t pet Bobby because he`s scary. (These are dogs that live with members or investigadores.) 
7. The gospel is true and when we live it we radiate light!!
8. Eat everything with chili, even mangos, and especially watermelon. 
9. If you`re excited for email time your computer will inevitably be slow
10. Be grateful for the many resources and blessings that we have in our lives, because there are so many that live without them. 

I`m afraid that's all for this week! Sorry that it`s a little frantic, blame my philosophic neighbor. I couldn`t escape from his deep conversation!

Know that I`m praying for all of you! Life is exciting, a time to learn, and is better when we rely siempre on the Lord! 

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Schwartz

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hakuna Matata, Una Forma de Ser!

Holaaa Buenas dias, tardes, or noches! (Whatever time it is that you read this! :))

I`m emailing on Saturday because next Monday we have transfers!! I have the very exciting transfer of.....staying in Tizimin!! Whoohoo! This is normal for the first cambio because I need to finish my training. I`m so happy though because we have more time to work here! My companion and I are really starting to work well together and find the milagros! (miracles)

On Tuesday we had intercambios with the Sister Training Leaders, and that was a different experience! It was fun to work with Hermana Sanchez for one day because she is SUPER enthusiastic and good at talking to people in the calles. I learned a lot from her and feel a lot more confident approaching people. 

I`m so excited because we have new investigadores that are SOOO ready to here the gospel! The mamá of our recent convert, Amber, had some questions about her daughter's baptism, and we started to talk to her and now she´s taking the lessons! She´s had so many bad experiences with other religions, I´m just really excited that now she has the opportunity to learn she´s not going to the "Infierno," she`s going to have the help of Jesus Christ to change her life! 

We also started teaching a 13 year old boy, Isaac, who is every missionary's dream. He missed our appointment, but when we passed by the next day he let us in and apologized profusely for missing, thanking us so much for being here to teach him. The first lesson went so well! When we left we looked at each other and said, "He`s PERFECT!" Hahaha. The only challenge with Isaac is that his parents are divorced and he might be moving to Merida soon...pray that we have time to teach him!!

Another miracle was that on Thursday all of our appointments fell through, and we were just about ready to head to the casa and end the day by studying. We passed by the casa de Atenedoro, who has lots of struggles right now, all stemming from alcoholism. He wants so desperately to change his life, but it`s hard. We passed by his house and found him in the middle of a crisis. He was struggling really bad with withdrawel symptoms. Right when we passed by, it started to rain. Like, it was pouring buckets of rain. We sat with Atenedoro, sang hymns, and encouraged him until the storm passed. He asked why we passed by right in that moment, and we said, "Heavenly Father brought us here, right now, because he knew you would need help." It was such a special moment. 

Right after this was crazy because we had 3 missed calls that we didn`t hear because the rain was so loud...they were from the President`s wife! We got a message saying that she needed to talk to us urgently, and our phone died! We went to charge it, but the power was out in the house!! We asked our neighbor Hermana Eva if we could use her phone, but she didn`t have any credit. During all of this our house was mildly flooding because of the rain, no biggie. :) We finally ended up using Hermana Eva's brother's phone, and Hermana Reynoso told us that "Oh, perfect Hermanas. We`re here at your casa!" President Reynoso and his wife passed by to drop off a few things we needed and check on how things are going. But man, were we flustered! Haha it was super fun scrambling around the house trying to get things ready. 

We´re having lots of fun learning Disney songs in English/Spanish for language study. My goal is to be able to sing Pumbaa`s part in Hakuna Matata, because it`s fast, it`s fun, and it sounds way cool in Español! Quick spiritual thought, Hakuna Matata isn`t the best way to live your life. We need to be responsible and such. But the best way to live is with OPTIMISM. We need to have "faith and hope for a better world." I`m learning so much here, and one thing I`ve learned is that it is so much easier to face a difficult task if you believe you can do it. Our Heavenly Father doesn`t want us to despair, he wants us to find hope in every situation. His plan for us really is a plan of Happiness!!

Other news, one of the elders in our district finished his mission, so we made him a tombstone with a scripture that was truly inspired. I opened up the scriptures to read Helaman 14:14. It`s something like, "And behold, here is the sign of his death." We thought it was pretty hysterical. We sent Elder Gibbons off with cake, churros, and a rousing rendition of "God Be With you till we Meet Again." 

Random news about food: watermelon is mindblowing with chili and I`m never going back! I also ate liver today....very exciting things happen in the mission!

Muchisimos gracias por todo, have an excelente semana!
Hermana Schwartz


Monday, May 1, 2017

Bautismo de Amber y Chichen Itza!!

Hola mi familia y amigos!! Como estan?

This week was awesome because we went to Cancún! We were there for a few days for my Generation Meeting, and learned a lot from Presidente Reynoso and his wife. It was so nice to talk with the other newbies and see how they´re coming in their training, and especially to get advice from the American trainers, who understand a little better that challenges of learning Spanish. We wore cute matching blusas and looked muy bonita y Mexicana! It was super fun and I felt very Yucateca strolling around crazy Cancun in my floral shirt. 

My trainer and I talked a lot this week about what things we can improve and how we can have success in this area. It really comes down to exact obedience and open communication. I have a lot of American habits that just aren´t gonna fly here in Mexico, haha. 

After the Reuníon de Generacion, we returned to the casa to find a cucaracha fiesta!! They invaded our house in our absence and it was honestly so gross, haha! I think there were 15 in total. Mom, we don´t have scorpions here ,just alacrans, which are un poco menos dangerous. 

But it was awesome because Amber was baptized!!!! She´s such a special daughter of God, and I´m so proud of her for the decision she made! She doesn´t look super happy in the photo because she´s a little shy and was pretty nervous that most of the ward showed up to watch her baptism. But there were so many people because everyone was so HAPPY. She´s 15 years old, very sweet, and loves the scriptures. She was confirmed the following Sunday, and we´re ecstatic that everything went well with her baptism. The cutest part was that her CRAZY, talkative, energetic 6 year old brother watched so intently when she was baptized. He told us after "Amber was baptized, I want to be baptized too! Is it my turn?" Haha, in two years, buddy! 

We also got to go to CHICHEN ITZA this week! It was sooooo amazing! I felt so cool standing so close to the ancient pyramids, thinking about the incredible civilization that used to exist here. It really is evidence that there were people here, and that the Book of Mormon is true. We ran into the LDS tour guide, Lemuel, and he showed us where there´s a baptismal font, the temple, and a carved image of a "shining, tall, white bearded God." They call him Kukulcan, but it´s pretty evident that it´s Jesucristo. It was really cool to go to Chichen and learn more about the history and culture in this beautiful area. I had a really hard time saying "no" to the souvenir people and ended up spending way to much money...but hey, gotta have souvenirs, right?

I´m really growing to love the people here. They are so giving, with their food, their time, and their homes. The members are awesome and it´s so fun to realize that I can laugh and talk with people in SPANISH! One really special investigator is Reina. She´s been waiting for almost a year now to be baptized, but she isn´t married to her husband. She doesn´t really see a future with him, but she wants to stay with him for the sake of her son. It´s a really hard situation, but she´s so so so Buena because she understands that this hard choice is a trial of her faith, and she knows that when she finally is baptized it´s going to be so worth it. We can´t do much more to help her except comfort here and encourage her to pray for guidance. But her testimony is so strong and I learned so much from her in our last visit. 

I love Tizimin! It´s fun to go to Cancún or Chichen, but it´s more fun to return to this quiet little city, with all of it´s quirks and challenges. I´m so grateful for the opportunity to serve here, for my trainer who is the perfect mix of strict and compassionate, and even for the heat! It reminds me that God´s love is constant. My scripture that helped the most for this week is Collosians 3:13, which really helped me and my compañera. 

Thanks for the prayers, emails, and todo su ayuda! Everything happens for a reason, God loves you, and missions are truly inspired! Que se cuiden!

Con mucho amor, :)
Hermana Schwartz

Amber's baptism

Chichen Itza!

Chichen Itza

A nice couple from Idaho Falls

cucaracha fiesta